I lost a friend whose life could have been spared if the university had been more sensitive to mental health. Education needs to understand they have a responsibility over peoples lives through mental health.
Hi, my name's Ben and in January 2018, I lost my younger brother, Sam, to suicide. He was just 15. That year he was one of 1,866 men under the age of 35 to die from suicide in the UK [Papyrus]. No one should ever have to experience the loss and confusion of losing someone to suicide and I hope that, with your help, this petition can save at least one family the awful pain I've had to and continue to face.
In the UK, the most likely cause of death for a boy in a classroom is suicide. We spend a large amount of time at school as young people and I believe that teachers must be trained to be able to spot the signs of someone struggling and know how to help them get the support they need.
Currently, the Government runs an initiative which selects a small number of staff members to take time out of their day to attend a course. Their aim is to achieve one 'mental health first aid trained' teacher per school. When I posed this to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, he agreed with me that this was not sustainable or effective. In response to my point that this training should be a mandatory part of teacher training he said it was “vital”. You can watch the conversation here.
Since going to Downing Street to deliver the petition personally to the Prime Minister we have not seen any change. Following the Coronavirus Pandemic, mental health support is going to be more important than ever before. That's why I'm calling on the government to commit to their promise of introducing legislation to create a new teacher training standard which requires teachers to have a knowledge of mental health.
If you believe we need to do more to prevent young people losing their lives to suicide, please sign and share this petition.
People have often referred to my generation as snowflakes. Well, if we’re snowflakes, then let this be the avalanche.
You can find out more on Instagram: @iambenwest