A Lowestoft mother is appealing for help in setting up a charity in memory of her son, who died earlier this year.
Sue Willgoss is launching the #LiftLoudForDanny fund after her son, Daniel, took his own life in June, aged 25. The charity will be a campaigning force for improving mental health services following what Mrs Willgoss has experienced during Daniel’s life.
It will campaign for a rapid response mental health team in Waveney, to try to stop people like Daniel ending up in police cells rather than hospitals in a crisis.
With the help of Jordan Peek, who ran Mammoth Power Gym with Daniel before his death, the charity will also help build an outdoor gym area at the gym, ensuring it is a centre of excellence for positive mental wellbeing support, and highlighting the importance of physical activity to improve mental health.
The #LiftLoudForDanny fund needs £5,000 before it can become a charity and has already reached almost £4,000 in donations.
Once established, the charity will aim to work with the police, the NHS, and schools to raise awareness about mental health with particular focus on its link with autism which often means sufferers require more specialised support, something that is rarely freely available.
Mrs Willgoss highlighted the high suicide rate for those with autism, and criticised the current mental health provision.
She said: “The suicide rate for those with autism is 40pc higher than the general population and it is about using this to try and force change somewhere down the line because it is just has to happen.
“The experience of a lot of people is horrific. It is amazing there are not more deaths. I don’t think they realise how bad some people’s experience is on the ground but I think they are starting to realise.”
She added: “They [the mental health trust] have acknowledged that they didn’t do what they should have done with Daniel and that meant a lot to me.
“It has been really challenging for me but I am a very strong person, but for those who are dealing with the service it is really bad.”
Julie Cave, managing director at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were extremely saddened when we heard about the loss of this young man.
“I met with Sue Willgoss so that she could take us through her experience of our services and of the other agencies who provided support. We agreed some immediate areas where we could work together to improve our practices at NSFT. We would hope those other agencies are prepared to review their services in a similar way.
“It is not appropriate to comment further on the detail of individual cases via the media.
“But in the meantime, if there is any other form of support we can offer, we would extend this offer again to the family, along with our most sincere condolences.
“We would also assure people that our trust has a wholehearted commitment to investigating and learning from the circumstances surrounding the loss of anyone who has touched our services, to fully question whether or not anything could have been done differently.”
To donate, visit the #LiftLoudForDanny GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/liftloudfordanny
Link to Lowestoft Journal here