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Billy Kelly, Messages To Dead Boys
People
June 2021
Reading time 5

In the UK, approximately 6,000 people a year will die by suicide and men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. That’s just two things I learned when I read Messages To Dead Boys…

Originally an e-book and now out in paperback, Messages To Dead Boys is Teesside Billy Kelly’s debut, and an extension of his MA studies at Northumbria University. He was inspired to write it after driving across the Tyne Bridge and noticing a man standing on the edge being coaxed back to safety by the police.
Billy Kelly, Messages To Dead Boys

After researching mental health statistics, Billy was shocked by the findings. ‘It sparked something in me on that hour drive home which made me do more research,’ Billy tells us. ‘It was then that I realised how big of a problem mental health really is, and I wanted to create something that was a one-sitting read, and easily digestible.’

That’s why the book features screenshots of texts and other electronic interactions. ‘They’re what young people like to consume and, by putting it in this form, it means it’s an accessible way for them to start and continue a conversation,’ Billy explains.

‘It was sitting on my shelf for two years, but during lockdown I realised more people were talking about mental health (as well as suffering with their own problems), so I thought I’d put it out there. I reformatted it into an e-book, but I wasn’t expecting the response it has had. I thought it would ripple out to my close circle of friends but the response has been amazing. Pushing it out there and raising awareness is so important to me.’

To social media, Jack Spriggs, the main character in Billy’s book, had it all. He had a high flying job, a girlfriend who loved him, and a promising future. Behind the facade, things are very different and this book really highlights the importance of talking. 

Messages To Dead Boys is an eye-opening series of communications which everyone should read for a deeper understanding of the warning signs of suicide. 

Messages To Dead Boys is now available in paperback and e-book via Amazon.

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