Friends to attempt European motorcycle ride to raise awareness of male suicide prevention charity CALM
Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in Britain, but one charity is battling to help them overcome depressed thoughts before it is too late.
And two Norfolk motorcyclists whose friends have killed themselves want to raise awareness of the Calm organisation – Campaign Against Living Miserably – by riding to Italy and back in August next year.
Patrick Welsh, 32, of Blenheim Grange, Carbrooke, will be attempting the challenge with Simon Blackwell, 32, of Bridle Road, Watton. They aim to finish it in 14 to 20 days.
Mr Welsh, a primary school teaching assistant, said: 'All the three guys were the three most genuine, lovely guys you would ever meet. No one had a bad word to say against them. You would not put them down as guys who suffered from depression.'
Between April last year and the beginning of this month Mr Welsh's friends, aged between 28 and 31 and from the Watton area, killed themselves.
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He said: 'We cannot let this happen again. We need to do something about it. If you feel depressed, the worst thing someone can say to you is don't worry about it and 'man up'.
'You feel undervalued and that can become a rocky road. We are looking to help men across the country.'
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And Mr Blackwell added: 'It is ingrained in English men that talking about how you feel is a weakness and leaves you vulnerable.'
Calm became a charity in 2005, following a 1997 Department of Health pilot scheme in Manchester.
It offers professional support through a helpline which is currently operated on Saturdays to Tuesdays from 5pm to midnight.
Between January 1 last year and December 31 the Norfolk coroner's office returned 47 verdicts of men who had committed suicide and 16 verdicts of women who had committed suicide.
Statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that in Britain during 2010 nearly 78pc of people aged between 15 and 34 who committed suicide were men – 1,147 compared to 331 women.
And ONS figures from 2010 also revealed that in England and Wales 868 men aged between 15 and 34 committed suicide, 608 died in land transport accidents, 17 died from HIV or Aids, 204 died from assaults, 286 died from heroin and morphine poisoning and four died from ecstasy poisoning.
For more information about Calm email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.thecalmzone.net or telephone the helpline on 0800 585858.
To sponsor Mr Blackwell and Mr Welsh visit www.justgiving.com/CALMRide, text CALM79 to 70070 or visit www.anicecalmride.blogspot.co.uk