Last Thursday, the need for our Jersey Together initiative was made all-too clear when this newspaper reported on the heartbreaking story of a man who took his own life after falling into financial difficulties.
While 30-year-old Christopher Thompson had started looking online for help, he ultimately kept silent about his troubles which eventually overwhelmed him and led to his suicide.
Not only did the reporting highlight the need for action, it also showed just how much goodwill and willingness to help there is in the Island community.
Through social media, letters and emails to the JEP, hundreds of Islanders have shown that they want change and are prepared to help.
Over the next three weeks, we will be encouraging readers to reach out to those who may be alone this Christmas. And whether it be helping them through a very difficult period of their lives or by inviting a neighbour to share Christmas lunch, we want to hear about what can be done to help.
Jersey Together has also been launched to broadcast a very simple but important message – that help, support and advice is available right now for anyone struggling with any personal difficulty, whether it be financial or otherwise. We will be publishing the contact details of these charities and organisations and speaking to those who are ready and waiting to help.
Today, we are also calling on readers to do something tangible for somebody else; to give their time and kindness to seek somebody out who may be lonely or isolated at this time of year.
Together, we hope we can rally the community spirit we know exists in abundance in Jersey for the good of others.
The campaign has the blessing of Christopher Thompson’s family who, last week, shared the heartache of the death of their son and brother, and intimate details of his final weeks, in the hope that others in similar situations will realise there are people ready to help, and that there is no shame in speaking out and seeking support.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, is today endorsing the campaign: ‘Jersey is a caring community and, throughout the year, there are countless examples of selfless, compassionate and generous acts. I would urge Islanders to support the JEP’s Jersey Together campaign by demonstrating that strong community spirit.’
Businessman and charity worker Andy Le Seelleur’s wife Monika took her own life in 2016. Today he is also joining those backing the campaign:
‘As we enter a season which for many will mean good times and excess, we need more than ever to think about those for whom it will bring misery and loneliness and which will bring some even closer to their point of crisis.’
JEP editor Andy Sibcy said: ‘The whole team was touched by Christopher Thompson’s tragic story and the impact his death has had on his family. But, beyond that, we quickly realised that his story had also affected many of our readers.
‘It is a pleasure to be able to use the JEP’s privileged position in the community and its reach to launch a campaign to achieve something so positive. I hope, in the coming days, we can share examples of how people are embracing the message of Jersey Together to seek help if they need it, or to do something for somebody else.’
You can read more from the Chief Minister, as well as charities, community groups, and Islanders with their own reasons for backing Jersey Together in today's JEP.