'Please speak out': Leeds mum's tragic appeal to young men after 18-year-old son takes own life

A mum from Leeds has urged young men to 'speak out' and 'get help' after her 18-year-old son took his own life last week.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 12:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:29 am
Joe Pickin, 18, sadly took his own life on January 16

Joe Pickin sadly died on January 16 and his death has rocked his community in Cross Gates, where he helped his mum and stepdad run the Cross Gates Recreational Club.

His mum, Michelle Ellis, knew that Joe had struggled with his mental health, but said she had seen his spirits lift in recent months.

She said: "I am just numb. Joe was just one of those boys that absolutely everybody loved.

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Pictured here at his school prom, Joe's friends say he would 'light up the room'with his smile

"He just got on with everyone, he was lovable and always had a smile on his face. He loved to make people laugh.

"His friends are absolutely devastated, but all the support we've got shows just how many hearts he touched."

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Joe's best friends to cover the costs of his funeral.

The family have not yet made plans for the funeral, but Michelle says she wants Joe to be laid to rest alongside her stillborn son, Jack.

Joe's mum, Michelle Ellis, pictured with his stepdad, Ben Ellis

Jack was sadly stillborn in 2000, the year before Joe was born.

More than £3,500 has already been raised on the page and Michelle said she is 'overwhelmed' by all the messages in tribute of Joe.

Michelle, who has two older sons, urged other young men who may be struggling with their mental health to get the support they need.

She added: "Please speak out and don't keep things inside. Get help.

Joe, centre, pictured with family and friends at his Peaky Blinders themed 18th birthday party

"If anybody has even an inkling that someone is struggling, tell everybody around them - the more people supporting that person, the better chance they've got."

Joe used to work at The Barnbow pub on Austhorpe Road, where Michelle and Joe's stepdad, Ben Ellis, are regulars.

The pub's kitchen manager, Rachel Casey, said Joe would 'light up the room' with his smile and the pub will hold a fundraiser in his memory on January 31.

There will be a raffle and an auction to raise money for the funeral and any money leftover will be donated to suicide awareness charities.

Rachel, 37, said: "He was a bright light in a dark room, he would always put a smile on your face.

"The amount of support for his family has been incredible and there are no words to describe people's generosity.

"If we can save one more life and raise awareness through the fundraising, making other people realise that the love is there - you just have to see it."

Joe loved going to gigs with his friends and was a huge fan of pop rock band The 1975, who headlined Leeds Festival last year. He had tickets to see them on tour next month.

His friends have launched an appeal to get a message and signed merchandise from the band, to be laid to rest with Joe.

23-year-old Heather Unsworth, who has started the hashtag #ForJoe to get the band's attention, said: "He was one of a kind with a beautiful soul, he was the definition of a decent human being.

"We will do whatever we can to give him a final gift from us all, to say thank you for all the lovely memories and to lay with him on his final journey.

"The support from everyone has been amazing and Joe deserves it.

"It's nice to see how loved he was, it's just a shame he couldn't see that."

The Samaritans can be contacted free at any time of day or night, call 116123 or email [email protected], or click here to visit the website.

Locally, the Leeds, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Bereavement Service can help, call 0113 305 803 or click here to visit the website.