More than a thousand students from a school in Greater Manchester have taken part in a 10k walking relay to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

The youngsters from Middleton Technology School in Rochdale are confident they will have smashed their £5,000 fundraising target after walking up Tandle Hill in support of the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.

The school chose PAPYRUS in support of young people whose mental health was affected by the pandemic, returning to school with restrictions and exam pressures.

They were joined on the walk by Mike Palmer, a bereaved father from Sale who lost his 17-year-old daughter Beth to suicide in 2020. Mike is one of the 3 Dads Walking who have raised more than £850,000 for PAPYRUS.

“It’s fantastic to know that these students are thinking about mental health and wellbeing and helping to spread the word that young people who are struggling with life are not alone.

“Teenagers are particularly hard to reach and just to see them and walk with them was a very positive experience which gives me hope for the future,” said Mike.

Adam Smith, Deputy Head at Middleton Technology School said: “We chose the charity PAPYRUS as students are returning to a sense of normality post the COVID 19 pandemic.

“It’s important that we support the improvement of mental health and reduce suicide amongst our communities and this charity helps us to improve the awareness of emotional wellbeing among our student cohort.

“The 10k walk will help students to feel they have contributed physically and emotionally to a really worthwhile cause which is making an impact in young people’s lives across the county.”

PAPYRUS says the money raised from the school’s 10k walk will be a life-saver.

Ged Flynn, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to the students at Middleton Technology School and all those who have supported their fundraising walk which will help us to continue giving hope to young people who are struggling with life.

“Generous donations will help to pay for potentially life-saving calls, texts and emails to our confidential HOPELINE247 service, which offers support and advice to young people and anyone who is worried about a young person who may be having thoughts of suicide.

“Funding also helps PAPYRUS to engage with local communities and volunteers in suicide prevention projects and supports the training we deliver to individuals and groups, equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

“We believe that many young suicides are preventable and together we can all help to keep our communities suicide-safe.”

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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