This is Matt and on 15th April 2022, sadly Matt died by suicide. Matt was playful with a deep side. He loved his friends and family with a passion with music and played the guitar, loved his animals including horses and dogs and loved to visit the beach. Matt took pride in his work and from the outside, life looked pretty good.
Life wasn't always easy and with the impact on mental health led to a devastating day for all.
His smile, love and light shines on in each of us that remember him.
I'd always wanted to do something in the positive psychology aspect, what makes us happy, (very basic terms) and came up with the idea of sending a smile to those who make us smile. Working in bereavement I hear about what people wished they had said, but what if we did tell someone before they died.
Share a smile, make a smile.
The Challenge was to send 126 to people. A greeting card in which someone has written to why that person makes them smile and brings love and joy into their life. We sent 142! Most by post, 114 with the rest completed on the day and to be hand given. 2 went international which was amazing!
In the smile sent, is another for someone else to share if they choose. To continue the smiles.
126 smiles are to be sent as this is the number of people who take their life each week in the UK according to numbers by the Samaritans Report.
Please come and send a smile. Remember their address!
Plus learn about what makes us happy and smile and how with our fun facts.
For more information please feel free to contact me. You'll find details on contact page.
SMILES The Acronym
The thought began with mental health and how we focus on the what makes us unhappy and how to 'fix' it but I noticed something missing, what, who, makes us happy and smile. So much exposure to fear, doom and gloom and wanted to save the smile. I do think it can help to fight against the fears, anxieties and depressions - though I understand sometime we cannot always see the smiles when feel low and scared and can zap smiles before we get to see them, feel them, yet in a moment of sharing a smile is a moment of hope that it is still there and not all is lost. Joy can be found again. I now practice seeing these smiles not only with people I'm in contact with but also my own. I invite you to do the same.
The Acronym below can help you notice these smiles.
S – Sharing – What have you shared together, memories, events, a moment or many? How do you connect?
M – Meaning – What do they mean to you? The meaning of your relationship?
I – Impact – What impact have they made on you? You happiness, your life? What difference do they make to you?
L – Luck – How do you feel lucky knowing them and what do you appreciate about them being part of your life?
E – Enjoyment – What do you enjoy about them? What do you enjoy together?
S – Sparkles – Because of all the SMILES, How do you sparkle and shine because of them?
I love to laugh and I did with Matt and do with friends and family. Talking with Lisa and sharing I felt the Smile can be forgotten and un-noticed. It got us thinking about what makes us happy and mixed with the impact I had with Matt's death, Matts Smiles was created. A suicide, grief and mental health awareness, in memory and hopefully a share of smiles, it can support the prevention of suicide and promote what makes us smile.
Like Alix I have personal experience of how suicide can impact the mental health of family and friends and I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. After sharing interests Alix and I both realized that we share an enthusiasm for positive psychology and what makes life most worth living with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. I am honoured to be part of Matts Smiles and the potential it can have to spread love, compassion and gratitude to the ones we love.
It was a great day, an emotional one as expected yet it went very well.
A big thank you to Lisa and Juliet (pictured right) for all the help and support plus their families for coming to support!
A thank you to everyone who sent a smile or 2, it was so lovely to see you all thinking and sharing with others. The children had fun drawing and colouring, unleashing their creativity.
I may not know many reactions to receiving but the feedback I have had was magical.
One to share
'I've just received your card. Thank you so much, made me cry but it was really nice and I appreciate it.'
My hope is that all that received got a good feeling and it made them smile.