In the same week that Facebook announced it will be making strict changes to its policies regarding self-harm and suicide, a British charity is commemorating children who took their own lives.
Teaming up with Radio City Talk, Chasing the Stigma used 226 pairs of childrens shoes to make the moving display on the steps of Liverpool’s St George’s Hall, each representing a child who to die by suicide in 2017.
Photographs of the installation, called Lost Childhoods, have been shared 16,000 across Facebook and Twitter, with users praising the charity for conveying a hard-hitting message in a form everyone can understand.
One commentor said: “‘Heartbreaking. Mental health needs to be a priority everywhere for all ages.”
While another wrote: “This is just utterly soul shattering. How many of these poor kids were getting bullied? How many of these kids had nobody to talk to about how they were feeling?”
Speaking to The Metro, charity spokesperon Jake Mills said: “‘We have been working closely with Radio City Talk and Presenter Mick Coyle for a number of years, around Mick’s Mental health Monday programme.
“Following last year’s award winning 24 hour live radio broadcast dedicated to Mental Health, we wanted to take that conversation out to the public. ‘With the show’s 100th episode falling at the beginning of children’s mental health week it made sense to address the devastating numbers of suicides in young people.
“The statistics are utterly heartbreaking but for many people, they either aren’t aware of the numbers or the reality of the figures doesn’t hit home. ‘Behind every statistic is a life needlessly and tragically lost. We wanted to get that across and so decided to use shoes as a visual representation of those lives.
“Working alongside other charities and organisations such as Papyrus and the Oscar Phillips Foundation we were able to create a campaign that not only raised awareness of the issue but importantly awareness of the help and support that is available.”
The rate of suicide among children and teenagers has shot up over the last decade, with the highest number of girls aged 15 to 19 taking their own life since records began in the 1980s.