Article by Alasdair Hooper: Around 200 people came out in support at a charity football game in memory of a St Martin’s schoolgirl who took her own life last year.
Harriet Nicol, 16, was found unresponsive at her home in Billericay by family members on Sunday April 23, 2017. She was rushed to Basildon Hospital but sadly died later on with an inquest hearing how the teenager had been diagnosed with depression just two weeks before.
On Sunday, July 29, a group of people connected with Harriet took part in a charity football match in memory of the 16-year-old and to raise funds for the mental health charity Mind.
Family and friends made up the two separate teams and balloons were released on the day in memory of the teenager.
Reiss Rasmussen, 31, from Basildon, is behind the organisation of the Harriet Nicol Memorial Trophy – held at the Basildon Post Office Sports and Social Club – and he also hopes he can raise awareness about the pressures young people face.
“It is such a problem now with youngsters like Harriet. None of her friends knew about the issues she was having and it takes a lot to get kids to open up and talk about feelings. With Facebook and Twitter – and things like that – everything is so accessible. I am not blaming the internet because we as people should be evolving as quickly as the internet is. She was happy as Larry” he said.
Reiss’ personal connection with Harriet lies with his stepson, who was good friends with Harriet at school. Following her death, Reiss’ girlfriend began seeing Harriet’s mother and the two families grew close after the tragedy.
Eventually both families, and a number of Harriet’s other friends, wanted to hold a number of events in memory of the schoolgirl.
A Christmas Eve party raised a total of £1,800 and, this time around, the football match brought in an amazing £1,854.
The two teams were made up of friends and family.
“It’s just to let people know that we are still thinking about her and we still miss her like mad,” added Reiss. My stepson said to me the other day it was a year ago since we had her funeral. I told him at least he remembered it but he said he wouldn’t be able to forget it. The day before she died, he was with her in Nando’s and she was happy as Larry. That’s the bit he doesn’t understand – why she didn’t talk about it.”
All of the proceeds from the football match will go towards Mind and Reiss is keen to promote the good work they do.
“They are the ones that are there for the youth of today,” Reiss said on the charity. That’s where you find mental health problems more today, you find it a lot in men but the kids – particularly kids 18 and below – is rocketing. Small local charities like this have somewhere where people can go and say ‘I have these issues’."
Where to find help
It's okay if you need to ask for help. Here are some places you can go:
- Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill
- PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
- Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information
- Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
- Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There is a helpline: 0800 58 58 58 or visit the website
The 16-year-old was a much-loved and hugely popular individual as shown by the amount of support the came flooding in from family and friends following her death.
Tributes poured in for the teenager who was also a member of Fusion Performers Dance and Drama School in Billericay.
A Go Fund Me Page was also set up immediately after Harriet’s death to raise £10,000 for a teenage suicide charity.
Charlie Dell, who set up the page, said at the time:
“I wasn’t the closest friend to Harriet but I knew her well enough to realise what an amazing person she was.”
Article by Alasdair Hooper, EssexLive