With the coronavirus pandemic causing heightened levels of anxiety, mental health is now more prevalent than ever. The number of callers to the charity SANE’s telephone helpline increased by 200 percent since the beginning of lockdown, indicating new levels of desperation. Unchecked mental health also impacts the wider economy, costing UK employers £45 billion each year, according to recent research by Deloitte.
To commemorate the World Suicide Prevention Day, We Are Hummingbird, in collaboration with Panic the Mother, have produced a 6-part series concerning all things mental health. Covering a wide range of topics from dealing with grief to parenting with mental health issues, the Youtube series is a deep dive into the world of self-discovery and self-mastery. Guided by qualified mental health first aider and co-founder Ian Hurst, the series is informative and insightful and aims to offer a word of wisdom and encouragement for anyone.
Tony Truman, Panic The Mother, Ian Hurst
On Suicide Prevention Day, the topic of choice is, of course, suicide awareness. Featuring an open and honest conversation with the owner of Ibiza hot spot for Brits O Beach Tony Truman, the episode touches upon important topics of promoting mental health at work. Ikon London Magazine sat down with Tony to discuss how his personal experiences affected him and brought him to We Are Hummingbird.
Tony was deeply affected by certain events in his personal life a few years ago. Three of his closest friends died of suicide within a matter of several weeks – all around Christmas time. One of them used to live with Tony and decided to move out just a few weeks prior to taking his own life. “It made me think how come they were all so outgoing and loved life and friends. And for them to then take their own life.” The co-founder of We Are Hummingbird, Ian Hurst, refers to the process called ‘suicide continuum’ that involves planning the suicide ahead. Tony recalled in an interview with Ikon: “I remember the moment I realized something was wrong when my friend came from holiday once and told me how he wanted to kill his family. And by the look in his eyes and how he said that I knew something was terribly wrong.”
When asked about how it made Tony feel, he admitted it made him feel sad and angry. “I was thinking how could they leave so many things behind them, leave their children. They are missing so much of their lives now.”
It was yet another suicide in Tony’s proximity that prompted him to educate his staff on Mental Health. One of Tony’s seven hundred employees took his own life last year which made Tony want to prevent it from ever happening again. That’s how Tony came across We Are Hummingbird. Since then, their work relationship, seems is going from strength to strength. “It affected not only myself but a lot of other employees. We are very close, like one big family so this suicide affected us all.”
Tony Truman is committed to educating his staff and raising awareness. Thus far, all managers were educated on Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention. Despite his industry being seriously affected by the pandemic and ever-changing quarantine rules, Tony is planning his future collaborations with influencers and celebrities. “We often provide free drinks, tables, hotel rooms to celebrities. We will be asking them to raise awareness of suicide and mental health issues. Some of them have a very large following and the message will reach more people”. Tony’s own fifteen years old daughter has also gotten involved. She is raising awareness among her peers and spreading the word as much as she can.