Our son, Will, who you might have seen around The City Ground over the years, died by suicide last year. He was 20, five weeks short of his 21st birthday. Will was a fan. He’d been a season ticket holder and never missed a game until he went to university, in Leeds of all places! He knew all there was to know about Forest. If ever there was a quiz on, you’d want him on your team – he had a brilliant mind. He was also very funny, very loving and had a social conscience – he had a passion for making the world a better place for the marginalised in society.
The pain of losing a child is indescribable, and losing him to suicide leaves me entirely at a loss for words. I’ve kept my season ticket though – I’m fairly certain Will would have wanted me to – but going to matches last season was really tough, some games more so than others. It’s at the football matches that I sometimes imagine hearing his voice, above the shouts of the crowd, telling me what he thinks about this or that tackle, or the ref’s decision. I sometimes feel very close to Will here.
On Saturday 21st October, Will’s friends and family took part in the Papyrus Hopewalk to raise awareness of the issues surrounding young people and their mental health, to help shatter the stigma of suicide and also to celebrate Will’s life. We walked from West Hallam, near Ilkeston, to The City Ground, where we arrived in time for kick-off against Burton Albion.
We don’t know why he decided to take himself out of the game; we never will know. What we do know though, is that we will do all we can to help prevent another young person feeling that suicide is the only option. The Will Garvey Trust Foundation (WTF- Why Talking Fixes) aims to draw attention to the dire need for a better attitude, and response, to mental health issues with the ultimate aim of preventing suicide in our local communities. We aim in the first instance to work alongside young people to enable them, encourage them and support them, as they grow in confidence talking about their thoughts and feelings, in educational and community settings. We aim to put pressure on authorities to more effectively support young people who are struggling- whether it’s the government, local authorities or universities, colleges and schools – they have a duty of care to help.
Joanna Garvey (Will’s mum)
You’re not alone; talk to someone. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.
This charity provides advice, support and guidance to young people online, by phone and in-person. It also provides support for friends and family who are concerned about a young person.
Samaritans offers a safe place to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you.