"Your world is shattered into a million pieces" - Harrogate father bravely shares story of his son's suicide as police force reveals sharp rise in mental health incidents

Police in North Yorkshire have seen over 500 more incidents a month in the past year linked to mental health.

Jordan Phillip (right) died by suicide aged 34 in December 2019 after a struggle with his mental health and his father Steve (left) has shared the impact of his death.
Jordan Phillip (right) died by suicide aged 34 in December 2019 after a struggle with his mental health and his father Steve (left) has shared the impact of his death.

Some 32,117 incidents where mental health has been a factor have been recorded over the past year, according to the force.

The figures show a monthly increase of 543 cases and an annual increase of 6,512.

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The police have shared the story of a Harrogate father whose son died by suicide to highlight the importance of Mental Health Awareness Week, which began yesterday.

Jordan Phillip died by suicide aged 34 in December 2019 after a struggle with his mental health.

His father Steve has since set up The Jordan Legacy, a charity tasked with preventing suicide.

Mr Phillip said his life changed forever the day Jordan’s girlfriend Charlotte called to tell him his son had taken his own life.

He said: “You always think these things won’t come knocking on your door, ‘It happens to other people’ and then one day your world is shattered into a million pieces.

“In the days after we lost him, we huddled together as a family, sitting mainly in silence for the first few days and we cried a lot.”

Mr Phillip shared his regrets that his son, who had had depression for several years, did not confide in him that he was struggling with suicidal thoughts, and shared his last text message, sent the day before he died, where he said he was feeling “tired”.

Mr Phillip said: “I could have done better, I could have been less busy, I could have insisted we speak or just simply called him…….I didn’t. These are my torments but inside, part of me knows he knew we cared, we did do as much as Jordan would let us do.

“What I mean is, Jordan chose to protect us from his worst torments, and we felt that if we pushed too much he would pull further away. Hindsight is a wonderful thing they say.”

The police said that in the past three years there has been an 80 per cent decrease in the number of people who are taken into custody after a mental health incident.

Street triage teams have been introduced and four “health based” places of safety have been set up in York, Scarborough, Harrogate and Northallerton.

Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, the mental health charity, said: "We know that the pandemic has taken its toll on many people's mental health, with more people becoming so unwell that they reach a crisis point.

“The police have an important role to play in ensuring people who do experience a crisis access the help they need quickly and that these incidents, where appropriate, are treated as a medical emergency."

If you are worried about yours, or someone's else's, mental health, you can contact the Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123, or email [email protected]