On December 19th, my son (a 21 year old student from Glasgow) succumbed to an illness that no-one knew he had.
My son was intelligent and full of life. He was active in student societies: he snowboarded, he surfed, he wakeboarded, he ran. He was a talented guitarist and loved board games (especially Monopoly!). He worked in Waitrose/John Lewis for 4 years and he loved food and cooking. As part of his MSc he found himself in Reykjavik for a year but quickly fell into a bar job that he thrived at and made a whole family of friends in Iceland. He enjoyed the dissertation he was writing and was thrilled to be looking forward to having his first academic paper published. He was planning a future.
At no point did anyone suspect that anything was wrong.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK, with around three times as many men dying as a result of suicide compared to women. It is the leading cause of death for men under 50 in the UK.
It's OK to not be OK and there's no shame in feeling that you're not coping or need help.
We will be doing whatever we can to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide risks, especially among young men and plan to use any funds raised for this purpose. There are many great charities doing good work out there but we'd like to be able to raise and target funds as we see appropriate in Connel's memory.