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Colleagues from Leeds Beckett are running the annual Leeds 10K this year in aid of SToRMS, a charity which seeks to raise awareness of issues pertaining to suicide.

SToRMS stands for “Strategies To Reduce Male Suicide”.

SToRMS is a small organisation based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and set up in July 2015. It is a fund within the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, a registered charity whose goal is to improve the lives of local people.

SToRMS was set up in memory of Dan McAllister who unexpectedly took his own life in May 2015 aged nineteen.

Dan was an intelligent, popular, sociable, talented and apparently happy 2nd year Psychology student. The loss of this much loved young man, who had such a promising life ahead of him, left his friends and family bewildered. It was only after this devastating event that it became clear to those who love Dan how common suicide is in the UK, how little it is discussed and how little is done to prepare our young people to cope with life’s challenges and to avoid reaching this point.

In 2013 male suicide accounted for 78% of all suicides, which was the biggest cause of death in men aged 20 – 45 in the UK. The silence around suicide means that this statistic goes largely unrecognised. There are many excellent charities providing support to young men with identified mental health problems and those able to seek help in times of crisis. Nonetheless, recent statistics have shown that “only half of all people who die by suicide have ever been in contact with specialist mental health services.” Crucially, many young men like Dan are not seen as at risk until it is too late. It is these men in particular who SToRMS aims to help.

SToRMS’ Mission is to reduce young male suicides by:

1) Facilitating widespread open discussions about suicide

2) Promoting mental well-being and emotional resilience from an early age

3) Challenging gender stereotypes that prevent men from accessing help,

4) Highlighting the relationship between alcohol and mental wellbeing.

The money raised will fund focused teacher training and specialist workshops with pupils and parents in accordance with the aims listed above. Initially SToRMS will work with already established charities such as CALM, Papyrus, and Young Minds to deliver this input. In the longer term the plan is to devise workshop templates specifically tailored to their aims.

If you’d like to donate to this cause, please check out the team page here.