Charity devoted to stopping young people from taking their own lives

Chris and TJ
Chris and TJ

A man from Leighton Buzzard hopes the work he is doing can help save someone’s life after he lost his teenage son.

Chris Sibley, of Regent Street, helped set up The One Life Lost Is Enough (OLLIE) Foundation after his son, TJ, committed suicide in 2014 when he was 16. At the time Chris felt there was a stigma attached to suicide and no-one spoke about it, or how to prevent it.

The OLLIE Foundation is a charity devoted to stopping teenagers and young people from taking their own lives.

Chris said: “When TJ killed himself it was totally out of the blue, he was always the lad everyone spoke to, he had lots of friends and always had a smile on his face.

“After six months I found a support group where I met Stuart and Jane, who had also lost children to suicide, the three of us decided we wanted to create our own charity, based on suicide awareness training and the foundation began.”

The charity raises awareness of suicide prevention and support services available to help young people.

It funds suicide prevention skills training for anyone who interacts with young people.

The aim of the training is to create ‘suicide safe’ communities, creating an ethos of awareness and prevention structured around alertness, intervention and recovery.

Chris told the LBO: “We deliver suicide awareness training sessions to help people to spot any signs, but there are not always signs.

“Sometimes they may give you an opening during a conversation, the training helps people spot that opening, intervention can make a difference. People are more aware now that mental health is a real issue and we want to make it easy to talk about.

“We all felt like we needed to try and help, if we can stop one person from taking their own life then we have made a difference.

“We know the devastation that is left, it has happened to us, that pain doesn’t go away.”

For more information visit: https://theolliefoundation.org/.