2253. Jackie Walls
Jackie Walls, from Dunfermline, created ‘Tartan Talkers’, a men’s mental health and suicide prevention charity after she lost her nephew, Scott Taylor, to suicide in March 2022, aged 37.
The grief following Scott’s death, which was a real shock to Jackie and the family, inspired her to create something positive to help those suffering with mental health issues and support their families. With a high rate of male suicide in the local area, ‘Tartan Talkers’ works with the support of the local council to provide a drop in centre where men can connect and are encouraged to talk openly, as well as being a presence in the local area. Jackie’s team of volunteers are trained in peer to peer and suicide awareness, and are all aware of the importance that one conversation can make to someone’s life.
The charity has already supported hundreds of people in Fife with practical and emotional support, including facilitating a psychologist service, referrals to support services, a buddy system and telephone support line, and is backed by Scottish band The Proclaimers.
Jackie’s award coincides with Burns Night, a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns.
“I was very surprised to receive this Points of Light Award but I am delighted to accept it on behalf of all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly for ‘Tartan Talkers’. Many of the volunteers are parents who have lost a child and I feel humbled to be a part of this special team. My only wish is that it was under different circumstances.
“However, we know our efforts have saved many lives and for this we are so thankful because suicide not only robs a person of their life, it leaves a tragic trail of devastation for the family and their loved ones.
“I would also like to dedicate this award to all the beautiful souls who were in a dark place and who prematurely lost their lives to suicide because they could not see a way out of the darkness.
“We believe that ‘Nae problem is worth yer life’ because suicide is preventable but society needs to work together to reduce the stigma and raise awareness. These collective measures would save lives and save families from the brutality and horror suicide inflicts.
“Thankyou from Jackie and all the team at ‘Tartan Talkers”.
Find out more about ‘Tartan Talkers’