Fundraising Detective Inspector getting in gear to help others affected by suicide
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A Detective Inspector at Cheshire Constabulary has vowed to cycle 500 miles in five consecutive days to help prevent other families from being left devastated by a suicide.
DI Deborah Morgan, of the force’s Strategic Public Protection department, blamed herself when her beloved brother Ross took his own life at the age of 31 two years ago.
She had received suicide prevention training the previous year as part of her job, but did not see any signs of her brother needing help.
DI Morgan is now determined to help others with mental health issues.
All the money raised from her daunting charity challenge will go to Mind, the mental health charity.
The 42-year-old mother of two adult children said: “I will be doing the challenge from Wednesday 4 August with my 52-year-old friend Nikki Morley, who is a beauty therapist and a mum of four adult children.
“Starting from Winsford, where we both live, we plan to cycle to Anglesey in North Wales on the first day and cycle back on the second.
“Days three and four will consist of cycling trips to Blackpool and Ellesmere in Shropshire.
“The last day of the challenge will be a circular Cheshire ride to hit the magic 500-mile mark.
“We are both keen cyclists, but we are no spring chickens anymore.
“However, we are determined to complete the challenge to raise funds for Mind and help to stop others from being left devastated by a suicide.
“I lost my brother Ross to suicide, and Nikki lost a family friend who took his own life at the age of 20.”
Statistics show that men are more likely to suffer in silence than women. They are also less likely to seek help.
Three times as many men as women die by suicide, and it is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
DI Morgan, who has been a police officer for 15 years, added: “The circumstances of Ross’ death hit me hard.
“I’d had suicide training through work around a year before he died, but I never spotted the signs with him.
“This led to me blaming myself and feeling guilty for not doing more to help Ross.
“Those who know me will know I am usually a very resilient person, but the experience knocked me sideways. It was only through the professional help of an occupational health counsellor at Cheshire Constabulary that I was able to understand what was happening inside my head and get myself back on track.
“Woman are more likely to talk to friends, family members or professionals about mental health issues, but unfortunately men seem to see this as a sign of weakness.
“With the turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to look after our mental health and seek help and support when we need it.
“I urge any man who is struggling mentally to reach out for that support. It’s okay to not be okay.”
A crowdfunding page with a £3,000 target has been set up for the fundraising challenge.
DI Morgan said: “I got into cycling less than a year ago. Before that I used to just go to the gym and a jujitsu club, but the pandemic forced me to seek a different way to stay in shape.
“I turned to cycling and began to ride regularly with Winsford Wheelers Cycling Club, and I recently joined Weaver Valley Cycling Club.
“I usually ride around 30 miles three times a week.
“The requirements of the fundraising challenge are obviously a lot more than that.
“It will push me and Nikki to our absolute limits, both physically and mentally, but we have been training hard for it and are both adamant that nothing will stop us from completing the challenge.”
Mind offers information and advice to people with mental health problems and lobbies the Government and local authorities on their behalf.