The founder of The OLLIE Foundation hopes this year’s partnership with The Mall Luton will raise awareness of the work the charity does.
Stuart Falconer, of Caddington, set up the charity after his son committed suicide three years ago, he wanted to help other young people by talking about suicide.
The One Life Lost Is Enough (OLLIE) Foundation is a charity devoted to stopping teenagers and young people from taking their own lives.
In February, The Mall Luton, announced The OLLIE Foundation would be its charity of the year, the shopping centre will be fundraising for the charity and raise awareness of the charity’s work.
Staurt said: “The Foundation started in St Albans, I set it up after my son, Morgan, committed suicide. He was 15 and showed no signs of any mental health issues.
“After he passed away I started looking into suicide online, it seems to be that people do not like talking about it and I think we need to.
“Many young people will not talk to their parents about it because they do not want to be judged, or because they do not want to be a burden.
“The charity has two roles, firstly to raise awareness of suicide, the view seems to be that if you do not talk about suicide with teenagers then it will not happen, sadly that is not the case. I think you need to educate people about it and where they can find support.
“We have been holding information stalls at The Mall and at events in Luton and I have spoken with the Rotary Clubs who have been very supportive.”
The OLLIE Foundation funds suicide prevention skills training for anyone that wants it, especially those interacting with young people, including parents, students, school staff and community groups.
The aim of the training is to create ‘suicide safe’ communities, creating an ethos of awareness and prevention structured around alertness, intervention and recovery.
Stuart added: “The second role of the charity is about helping professionals who work with young people.
“Teachers have training in a lot of issues but not suicide, I think they should have training in this issue as well.
“Young people need to be able to talk to someone to get help, there is a reluctance to talk about suicide.”
For more information about The OLLIE Foundation visit: https://theolliefoundation.org/.