Huge success for Mathewfest - festival tribute to Torfaen man raises over 9k for samaritans in wales

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, family and friends of Mathew Harvey organised a three-day fundraising event to celebrate his life and raise awareness of depression and male suicide. Mathew Harvey, who was a keen and very talented musician, was a much-loved son, father, brother, uncle and friend. Mathewfest, which took place in September in Cwmbran and Pontypool and included a fun-run, sponsored walk, cycle and music concert, with over 200 people involved. The festival was a huge success and has collected £9,365 in donations alone, all of which will be given to Samaritans South Wales Valleys project, a Samaritans in Wales project which aims to reduce suicide across the South Wales Valleys.

Susan Francis, Project Officer for Samaritans South Wales Valleys Project said:

“We are over the moon with the success of Mathewfest. We were proud to be involved with this event from the start, it was a really positive way of engaging with local communities and raising awareness of the importance of talking and reaching out for help. Our project aims to increase access to our emotional support service and encourage help-seeking behaviour in the Valleys area and thanks to the family and friends of Mathew, we have been able to increase vital awareness of how to access help.

“Mathews friends and family have worked tirelessly on this event and thanks to them, their donation will directly contribute to the running of our project. We’ve also received interest from new volunteers who want to help those who may be struggling to cope in their own communities. This is a really positive development – it’s so important that we spread the message that asking for help shows strength, not weakness’

The organisers of the event were close family and friends of Mathew who decided to arrange an event to celebrate his life and increase awareness of the importance of opening up and reaching out for help. They decided to use the event to fundraise for the Samaritans South Wales Valleys project and have already confirmed their intentions to run the event again in 2018.

Craig Jenkins, best friend of Mathew said -  

“I would like to thank everyone who attended and made this event happen. I truly believe Mathew would have been so proud of everyone. From the start, we wanted to raise awareness of depression and male suicide and I always said that even if we make one person pick up the phone and call Samaritans, then we have made a difference.

“I know a lot of support information was provided to our community during this event and I hope that we’ve succeeded in spreading awareness of asking for help. It’s brilliant that it’s also encouraged people to come forward and volunteer themselves”

To support Mathewfest, Samaritans are sharing some signs that you or someone you know may be struggling to cope. They say whilst you can’t really generalise how struggling to cope can make you feel or act, there are some symptoms to be aware of for yourself or someone you know.  

  • Lacking energy or feeling tired, feeling restless and agitated
  • Feeling tearful
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things

If these signs seem like you or someone you know, Samaritans want to encourage people to reach out to someone, whether it’s a friend or your GP, or to call them for free, at any time, on 116 123. This number does not show up on phone bills. You can also email them at jo@samaritans.org or visit one of their nine branches in Wales, details of which can be found at www.samaritans.org/branches. For those people who would like to speak to someone in Welsh, they can call the Welsh Language helpline on 0808 164 0123, which is open 7-11pm, 7 days a week. They also want to remind the public that they don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. They offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you.

-          To find out more about Mathewfest, or to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/teams/MathewFest

-          To volunteer with the Samaritans South Wales Valleys Project, please email wales@samaritans.org

 

ENDS

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact Emma Harris, Policy and Communications Officer on e.harris@samaritans.org or 07984579050 / 029 2022 2008

Note to Editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, to listen and offer confidential support when things are getting to you. Please call 116 123 (this number is FREE and will not show up on your phone bill) or call the Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (This number is free to call and open from 7pm - 11pm 7 days a week) You can also email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of the nearest branch.