Mike lost his ‘gifted’, ‘lightning quick’ daughter, Beth, to suicide in 2020. Since then, he’s been campaigning and walking across the country as part of 3 Dads Walking - raising awareness of suicide and calling for more education and funding for suicide prevention.
Like so many other families bereaved by suicide, Mike has analysed every moment and interaction with his daughter before she died. Beth had been struggling with the constrictions of lockdown. In the lead-up to her death, Mike noticed her mood and behaviours changing but put it down to typical teenage behaviour.
“Beth’s behaviour was becoming a bit up and down. Sometimes a bit eccentric, sometimes a bit quiet. She was spending a lot of time in her bedroom, going out but then coming back and retreating to her room.
“She said things like ‘you don’t understand’ or ‘I’m having a bad day.’ It was nothing particularly to put your finger on at the time. I wish I had more awareness."
"Instead of encouraging her to get out of bed and get on with it, maybe I should have just asked her why she was having a bad day.”
Alongside his fellow 3 Dads, Tim and Andy, Mike is passionate about getting more families to learn life-saving skills.
“I did everything to protect my little girl and to encourage her to make sensible decisions. I made her go to martial arts so she could protect herself physically. I thought I’d done everything correctly, but I missed stuff. We need to teach people to protect themselves, whether it’s physically or mentally.”
Together, Tim, Andy and Mike believe they can stop other families going through a loss like theirs. They’re working with government to get suicide prevention into the curriculum so young people like their daughters, Emily, Sophie and Beth, have the knowledge and support they need.
“If Beth had known more about suicide and how to get help, she might have known how to reach out. I believe 110% that she never really wanted this. So my advice would be don’t live in ignorance. I was part of a family that thought suicide would never touch them. That suicide would never be part of my life. So make yourself aware. Make your family aware. Have a conversation and make talking about mental health and suicide prevention part of the things you pass on to your children.”