A suicide prevention charity has released the last pictures taken of people who took their own lives as part of a powerful new campaign.
The British non-profit Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) shared the pictures to show that there were no tell-tale signs that these people were about to take their own lives.
In the snaps, which were launched as part of an open air exhibition in Southbank, the victims are smiling and showing no signs of the heartbreak and sadness they were experiencing.
The pictures come with the backstory of the person who took their own life, written by their loved ones, at a time where 125 people die by suicide in the UK every week.
The Last Photos exhibition, which will be on show until Sunday 26 June, is part of a new campaign aiming to end stigma and stereotypes that surround suicide and help the country better understand it, in hope that people will be able to help someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Emily Owen is one of the people featured in the exhibition. The teen, who took her own life aged 19, was on the autism spectrum and killed herself after Covid-19 restrictions that had been lifted were put back into place during the pandemic
The Last Photos exhibition, which will be on show in Southbank, London, until Sunday 26 June, shares the last pictures taken of people who have killed themselves. Adam Semandi-Curtis, pictured, took his own life when he was 18
Strictly star Shirley Ballas at the photo installation by suicide prevention charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably on London’s Southbank showing the final photos taken of people before they took their own life
The people featured are as young as 17, and include 40 men and eight women.
The images are all accompanied by poignant messages written by the family and loved ones of the person.
Mike Palmer, the father of one of the 17-year-old victims, Beth, reflected on his daughter’s death during lockdown.
‘We had no indication that she was struggling with her mental health, other than that she’d expressed a sadness and frustration about not being able to see friends or go to college due to lockdown,’ he said.
‘My belief is that greater education around mental health and suicide is needed. Age appropriate teaching from primary school, through secondary school, equipping our young people with life skills they need to keep themselves and others safe,’ he added.
Amy Nelson, who lost her husband Paul when he was 39, wrote: ‘Paul was the picture perfect poster of someone you would never imagine taking their own life – happily married, a beautiful daughter, a perfect home, successful businesses, a holiday home, financial security.’
Giancarlo Giglione revealed how his brother Lanfranco, 26, had recently completed the London Triathlon before taking his own life.
Hayley Moss said it was hard to think about the sadness her sister Elizabeth, who took her own life aged 28, was hiding behind smiles
Lanfranco Giglione, 26, was in a happy relationships, had a successful career and had just completed a London Triathlon when he died by suicide
Volunteers and loved ones came to see the exhibition on its launch day today in Southbank. Some highlighted important stats, such as the fact 61 per cent of people would struggle to tell is someone they knew felt suicidal
Bethany Parker took her own life aged 17. Her father said she had struggled with lockdown but had given no indication she was struggling with her mental health
‘He went against every stereotype of a person you imagine capable of suicide. He hid his emotions so well, that no one suspected that underneath he was suffering,’ he said.
New research by YouGov for CALM found that 61 per cent of people said they would struggle to tell if someone they knew felt suicidal.
Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said: ‘People tend to think they already know what suicidal looks like – reclusiveness, crying, silence etc. – and if they don’t see these traits in someone they’re worried about, they hesitate to intervene.
‘In reality, suicidal behaviour takes many forms. People struggling can put on a mask concealing their inner turmoil before taking their own lives. CALM’s aim is to highlight this fact and equip people to take collective action.
‘If we can all start one conversation with our friends and family about suicide, together we can smash the stigma that surrounds it.
If you don’t know what to say, or what to do if someone tells you they are struggling, then CALM has the resources to help. It might feel awkward to start with, but by starting a conversation today you really could help save a life.’
Will Henry Corin, 46
William Henry Corin, pictured, took his own life aged 46. His son Harry was 12 when it happened and said his father’s friend remembered him as a ‘kind and caring guy’
Will’s son Harry said: ‘I was 12 years old when I lost my Dad to suicide. Fifteen years have now passed and during that time I have learnt so much about my Dad and suicide.
‘It upsets me that he felt that suicide was the only way out of the pain that he was experiencing. Everybody in my hometown knew my dad – he was such a kind and caring guy.
‘He experienced some adversity during his life, however suicide was still unexpected to those around him at that time.
‘My Dad didn’t want to die, he just didn’t want to experience the pain he felt any longer.
‘He couldn’t see an alternative. I live in hope that, one day, everyone in this world knows what the signs of suicidal ideation are and will feel confident enough to ask someone the question if they’re ever worried or concerned.’
Joel Ingram, 18
Joel Ingram took his own life when he was 18. His family remembered him as an honest and ‘wonderfully complex person’
Joel’s family said: ‘We loved Joel more than words can describe. He was such a unique and wonderfully complex person, full of quirks and idiosyncrasies that made Joel Joel.
‘From a very young child right through to a teenager Joel’s killer combination of humour and intelligence meant there was never a dull moment when he was around.
‘All who knew Joel can agree that he was a brilliant conversationalist; insightful, quick-witted, and refreshingly honest.
‘When Joel became passionate about something, be it cars, fashion or a strongly held opinion, he’d draw everyone in with his infectious enthusiasm.
‘Joel’s unique perspective on the world kept everyone on their toes and the Joel-shaped hole can never be filled. We miss him every day.’
Paul Nelson, 39
Paul Nelson died by suicide aged 39 after a family holiday in Spain in the summer of 2021. His wife said he was a poster person for the campaign because no one could have imagined he would take his own life
Paul’s wife said: ‘Paul was the picture perfect poster of someone you would never imagine taking their own life – happily married, a beautiful daughter, a perfect home, successful businesses, a holiday home, financial security.
‘But as Paul would say himself you can have everything in the world and feel like you have nothing when it comes to your mental health.
‘We miss Paul every day and will continue to raise awareness of this invisible illness – we will love you forever.
‘Photo captured in Spain in June 2021 in our “happy place” – just a few weeks later Paul was gone.’
Sophie Connor, 21
Sophie Connor took her own life 11 days after her 21st birthday on 17th December 2020. Her family said they hoped her story could save someone else’s life
Sophie’s family said: ‘Sophie was kind, caring and would do anything for anyone. She had an infectious laugh and smile, which would light up any room.
‘This photo was taken on the 17th December 2020, which was Sophie’s 21st birthday. 11 days later our world was turned upside down when Sophie took her own life, something we never anticipated happening.
‘We chose to share Sophie’s story with CALM in hope that it raises awareness which could potentially save a life.
‘Words can’t describe how much we miss Sophie but we will carry her with us forever.’
Jess Benjamin Fairweather, 20
Jess Benjamin Fairweather was 20 when he took his own life, and had just gone out with friends
Beverley, Jess’s mother, said: ‘This photo of Jess was taken by his friend Jessica. I love it because it was taken using Apple Live and in the original you can see him move slightly and he’s trying not to laugh. He was such a cheeky chappy.
‘At the time this picture was taken, he was studying quite hard and wanted to go to university to study law.
‘I last spoke to him the night before he died. He was at a quiz and seemed happy.’
David Bee, 50
David Bee took his own life aged 50. His daughter Ella said he was outgoing and that his death came as a massive shock
Ella, David’s daughter said: ‘My Dad was very outgoing and his death was a massive shock to everyone that knew him. At the time the picture was taken, he kept saying he was very happy.
‘He always made everyone laugh, always going out of his way to help other people.
‘He was the life and soul of the party, but internally he was fighting battles that others couldn’t see.’
Dale Jarvis, 37
Father-of-one Dale Jarvis died by suicide when he was 37. His father Martyn said you could have never guessed Dale was suffering from depression
Martyn, Dale’s father, said: ‘Dale could do it all. He was a confident, clever, witty and popular young man.
‘He could speak several languages and was fluent in Mandarin. He could easily do lectures and presentations in front of hundreds of people. You would never know he was suffering from depression. This was taken at our daughter’s wedding.
‘He leaves behind a beautiful daughter Eva and he is loved and missed by so many people.
Keith David Parvin, 35
Farther-of-one Keith David Parvin took his own life when he was 35. His family remembered him as a dedicated father to his daughter Honey-Rose
Keith’s family said: ‘Keith was an amazing person. He could walk into a room and the sun shone, his laughter was contagious and his sense of humour wickedly funny.
‘He loved music festivals and was so artistic with a brilliant imagination. As a child he wrote “my favourite place is my imagination because I can go anywhere I want.”
‘He was also a brilliant chef and made an amazing first birthday cake for his baby daughter – a beautiful pink dinosaur.
‘Keith was a real hands-on Daddy and would do anything for his baby daughter and her three older sisters. This photo was taken about four weeks before he grew his angel wings.
‘He’d just finished playing playdough with Honey and his brother Daniel, laughing and having fun. Our Keith was and will always be the most loved amazing son, brother and daddy ever.
‘We will love you always Keith. Mum, dad, Daniel and Honey-Rose.
Sophie Airey, 29
‘Gregarious’ Sophie Airey took her own life aged 29. Her family said this photograph was taken four months before she died by suicide
Sophie’s family said: ‘Throughout her life Sophie came across as an open, happy person, who was extremely sociable.
‘She was gregarious, good fun and was always able to raise a smile. Soph was a beautiful young woman, kind, caring and loved by all who knew her.
‘She loved being outdoors. Four days before she died, she had been mountain biking before going to a Christmas party.
‘This photograph was taken about 4 months before Sophie took her own life. Her suicide was a complete surprise to all of us, none of us saw it coming.
‘If Sophie had told any of us how she was feeling, we would have done everything within our power to help her, but she didn’t give us that chance.’
If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you can call The Samaritans’ 24/7 helpline on 116 123 for help and support.