COMMENT: Good Signs emerging out of Daniel’s tragic death

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IT is often the case that out of something tragic comes something good. So it is the case with our story today about a veterans mental health charity celebrating its first birthday.  

Like many charities, in an ideal world All Call Signs – started last year by former services friends Dan Arnold and Stephen James – would not exist.

But this is not an ideal world we live in.

In an ideal world, there would always have been support for our veterans, our heroes.

And in an ideal world, veterans such as Daniel Johnston would still be alive today.

Sadly, he is not; in 2018 his name was added to the list of veterans who took their own lives.

It is a worryingly lengthy list – no fewer than 140 former service people have taken their own lives since the start of 2018.

As a result of Daniel’s death, Dan and Stephen decided they had to do something to prevent others meeting a similar fate – hence the forming of All Call Signs.

In a short space of time, the charity has helped many veterans. Arthur Lilley, 66, is one of them. Today he tells The News he was ‘in a dark place’ and ‘felt deeply depressed.’

He was told about All Call Signs by his barber, and now credits the charity for potentially saving his life. ‘I don’t think I would be here today if it wasn’t for those guys,’ he says.

Hopefully they are words that show Dan Arnold and Stephen James that they were right to start their charity.

Of course, it won’t bring back Daniel Johnston or the other 139 veterans. But it is providing a beacon of hope to Daniel’s mum, Viv. ‘It does provide some consolation in the sense that it can stop this happening to other families and prevent any more Daniels,’ she said.

It is still early days, but the signs are good for All Call Signs. Dan and Stephen should be very proud of themselves.