A teaching assistant from Padiham is taking social media by storm, after using the modern trend for taking “selfies” to raise awareness of a serious issue which claims thousands of lives a year.
Shocking statistics show 76% of suicides in the UK are male and is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
That spurred Jordan Taylor into backing a nationwide campaign to promote awareness of men’s mental health issues.
And poignantly the campaign, It’sOKToTalk, launched this month, the month which marks the second anniversary of the death of Jordan’s uncle, Andrew Giles. Known locally as “Nipper,” the community was left in shock after his suicide as he was such a lively, popular and outgoing character who was well loved in Padiham.
A groundsman for Lancashire County Council he doted on his two children, three stepchildren and loved spending time on the farm where he grew up and also the local allotments.
Jordan said: “My uncle was cheeky, happy and loved by everyone. He was a real outdoors person, always helping someone or cutting someone’s grass and he was always smiling. In fact he was famous for his dimples.
“That’s why the shock of what happened was a huge blow to our family.”
So far around 200 people from Padiham, Burnley and all over the UK have backed the #ItsOKtoTalk campaign by posting a series of Facebook “selfies”.
Jordan (22) said: “I never expected such a huge response when I started this.
“I thought that maybe 20 or so, mainly friends and family, would take it on board but the reaction I have received has been phenomenal with selfies coming in from all around the country.
“And each person who has posted a picture has their own story to tell about themselves and how they have been affected by this issue.”
Mums and their children, work colleagues, people out socialising, pensioners and even a group of climbers who scaled Ben Nevis have posted selfies on Jordan’s page supporting CALM (Campaign for Living Miserably) which started the trend.
And Jordan was thrilled when Burnley player Dean Marney got on board with his campaign.
Each person is posing with the “It’s ok” hand gesture and all the images are being added to a collage which Jordan, who works at St Leonard’s Primary School in Padiham, plans to send to CALM.
Jordan added: “The aim of the campaign is to get more men talking about their feelings and what they may be going through and to lift the stigma attached to it.
“I am chuffed that the people of Padiham have taken this on board and started the ball rolling here in our town.
“We need to raise awareness of this issue so that people do start talking about mental health issues so that no-one has to suffer or worry in silence.
“Anything that can be done to save a life is worth doing.”
Padiham Fire Station has thrown its weight behind the campaign and Jordan is contacting companies and organisations across the country for their support.
He is even asking people to come up with different ideas for selfies, including trying to set a record for the selfie featuring the largest number of people. Famed for being a “doer” Jordan was responsible for organising groups of volunteers to help out with a clear up operation after Padiham was devastated by floods on Boxing Day.
Anyone who wants to back Jordan’s campaign with a selfie can do so on his Facebook page tagging #ItsOKToTalk or #JTsOKSelfieAppeal.
Or you can send them directly to Jordan via Facebook messenger.