Chelsea Loxton is on a mission to help young people know where to get support - and is jumping out of a plane to grab people’s attention.
University of Portsmouth graduate Chelsea is passionate about the cause because she lost a close friend four years ago after he took his own life, and Chelsea struggled with her own mental health after moving away from her home in Kent to study.
Chelsea’s brave leap will raise funds for Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, a charity which offers confidential support for young people.
Chelsea said: ‘The reason I’m doing it is because I’d never heard of the charity before until my work colleague told me about it. If I had known it was around when I was at university, I think I’d have got support more quickly.
‘It’s really difficult to move away from your family and friends at 18, it’s quite hard for some people to adjust to. If people had that support then they wouldn’t feel they had to go back home or defer for a year.’
According to Papyrus, suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK, and more than 200 schoolchildren take their own lives each year.
In 2017, Chelsea lost a friend to suicide and this inspired her to raise awareness of the issue.
She said: ‘We used to work together and he was always very cheery and a lovely lad.
‘He’d message me about his struggles and we’d get through them, then one day it didn’t happen.
‘I think it was quite a shock to a lot of people because of him being so happy, but a lot of people mask it by being happy.
‘A lot of people don’t know what to say to someone, we need to be able to help people understand how to react when [a friend says] they’re feeling depressed or down.’
Working as a child and family support worker for Hampshire County Council, Chelsea also sees young people through her work who need support with their mental health.
Her charitable efforts have already raised more than £600 even before the skydive in July, thanks to a raffle she ran for Papyrus.
Ged Flynn, chief executive of the national charity Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, said: ‘We would like to say a big thank you to Chelsea and all those who are supporting her fundraising event.
‘Generous donations will help to pay for potentially life-saving calls, texts and emails to our confidential HopelineUK service, which offers support and advice to young people and anyone who is worried about a young person who may be having thoughts of suicide.
‘Funding also helps Papyrus to engage with local communities and volunteers in suicide prevention projects and supports the training we deliver to individuals and groups, equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.’
Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/chelsea-loxton3 to donate.
For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice, contact Papyrus HopelineUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email [email protected]