Bereaved father Colin Cooper has expressed hope that lifting the lid on his son’s depression and suicide might deter others.
This Sunday, Colin will be holding a special talk at Cookstown Baptist Church on depression, suicide and self-harm, drawing upon his personal experience with the issues.
Just over three years ago, his 17-year-old son Matthew lost his battle with severe depression.
Colin now volunteers with Niamh Louise Foundation, a cross-community rural charity set up 10 years ago to support individuals who are struggling with depression, self-harm and suicide.
He has shared how he dealt with this tragedy, which he describes as “the most difficult time that we as a family have ever experienced.”
Colin’s talk will highlight in a very practical and realistic way that ‘there is help’ and ‘there is hope’.
He will also speak of the difference his Christian faith in Jesus Christ made as their family continues to live with the loss of their son, whom he describes as a fun-loving person and “a wonderful musician.” With over 300 deaths from suicide each year in Northern Ireland, one in six people struggling with depression and an increase in self-harm of all ages, these issues affect many individuals and their families.
In the last week, Childline revealed that they received a call from children experiencing suicidal thoughts in Northern Ireland almost every day over the course of last year.
A spokesperson for the church said: “As a local church in Cookstown, we feel that it’s vitally important that this rising issue is addressed and that help is offered.”
The talk will take place on Sunday, September 25 at 7pm in Cookstown Baptist Church on the Burn Road and is open to all.