A mother who lost her son to suicide has set up a fund to help young people in a similar situation regain confidence in their futures.
Jo Marsden’s son Ned Harris was just 20 when he died in 2017.
Although Ned was a keen sportsman and bright, Jo said he struggled to engage at school and left education without a clear focus.
Jo, from Trotton, believes young men in particular can have problems discussing and dealing with a sense of ‘pointlessness’ and a loss of confidence in their abilities.
Now she hopes Ned’s Fund to support for vocational education charities could help give young people to gain skills, self-worth and a focus for their lives.
Jo said: “Out of this tragedy, the thought that you’re giving help to someone else, it inspires me.
“You can sit and cry for the rest of your life because you’ve lost a son but it’s offering a lifeline really and if you can do that, even if it’s one or two people a year – I haven’t got great plans to save the world – how amazing would that be to go to their graduation, as a chef, a farmer or something else.”
The fund, which launched last week, will support charities that give young people aged 12 to 24 opportunities to see their potential outside of the standard academic system.
“It’s all about allowing us to be individuals and I think there’s a huge pressure on children these days to be high achievers,” Jo said.
Donations are already coming in for an ‘arctic challenge’ fundraiser set up by family friend Francyne Thompson, who described Ned on her Justgiving page as ‘extremely missed’.
Jo said she had also been contacted by parents who had gone through similar bereavement supporting the project.
If you have been affected by issues mentioned in this article, you can contact the Samaritans helpline for free, anonymous support on 08457 909090.