If U Care Share
1738. Matthew Smith
Matthew Smith, from Chester-le-Street, founded suicide prevention group ‘If U Care Share’ in memory of his late brother, Daniel, to offer a helpline to those contemplating suicide and provide support groups for bereaved families.
After Daniel took his own life at the age of 19 in 2005 without any warning, Matthew wanted to find a way of encouraging people to share their inner feelings and open up conversations around mental ill health and suicide. Setting up ‘If U Care Share’ 6 years ago, the organisation offers services to people who have lost someone to suicide, and those who are currently experiencing mental health issues, including running mental health programmes in schools across the North East. Matthew also runs an annual #insideout campaign which coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), encouraging people to wear an item of clothing inside out to help inspire conversations around mental health, and highlight the importance of discussing inner feelings.
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, said:
“Matthew, his mother Shirley and the rest of their family were devastated when his brother Daniel took his own life in 2005. If U Care share Foundation is an outstanding charity which does ground-breaking work to save lives, support families and raise awareness.
“This award is a fitting recognition of their work and the impact which they have had across County Durham and beyond.”
In response to receiving the award, Matthew said:
“It is an honour to be recognised for our work to prevent suicide. The Inside Out campaign aims to encourage individuals to start a conversation that quite often isn’t spoken about – suicide. Following this year’s successful campaign, where we managed to reach more people than ever we will continue to support those at risk of or bereaved by suicide.”