This week I had the pleasure of hosting two personal heroes of mine, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, from Joy Division / New Order , for a powerful discussion in Parliament on suicide and mental health.
The event marked the anniversary of the suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, who took his own life 42 years ago to the day. The band’s music has had a profound impact on me throughout my life and being able to hear about Bernard and Stephen’s experiences first hand was a deeply moving experience.
We heard from the Speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, who spoke incredibly powerfully about his own experiences of suicide – following the tragic deaths of his daughter and brother-in-law. As he so simply put it, “𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘵”:
We then heard from Labour Leader Keir Starmer, who made a strong speech about the need to put words into action when it comes to suicide and to make the radical changes we need to our failing mental health services.
I would also like to thank Andy Burnham the Mayor of Manchester – who chaired the discussion brilliantly – Gillian Keegan, the Minister for Mental Health – who also spoke and listened carefully to contributions from the panel and audience – and Simon Gunning, the CEO of The CALMzone , which is doing excellent work on suicide prevention and support for affected friends and families.
Although I started talking to New Order about this event more than two years ago (before Covid put it on hold) it gained new importance for me after I lost one of my closest friends to suicide late last year, which I spoke to the Huffington Post about here.
I hope that this event will help to raise awareness of how far we still have to go in making mental health treatment fit for purpose in the UK, and I hope that the MPs and Ministers in the room will be inspired to drive forward that change.
Every suicide is a tragedy that leaves family, friends and colleagues reeling. If by speaking out we can help prevent another loss, like Ian’s or any of the 5000-plus suicides that take place each year, then it is always worth doing.
Read more about the event here.
𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗺𝘇𝗼𝗻𝗲.𝗻𝗲𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗱𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲.
𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘀𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗱𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗠’𝘀 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗽𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀
𝗢𝗿 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻𝗲