FAMILIES have been left heartbroken after four former Runcorn pupils lost their lives through suspected suicides.

World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday revealed that more than 200 school children commit suicide every year in the UK.

Runcorn mum Eve Worthington, 21, is staging a charity concert to celebrate the life of her school friend Josh Heston who died last March after being hit by a train.

The 19-year-old, from Brookvale, was a pupil at The Heath School.

Since his death, two other former students from her school, a girl and a boy, have died.

A former pupil at St Chad’s Catholic and Church of England High School lost his life at the weekend.

Ged Flynn, chief executive of suicide charity Papyrus, who lives in Widnes, said: “Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people under 35. Sadly the general public is not aware of this.

“It comes as a massive shock to the family and community when a young person takes their own life.

“We should do all we can to raise awareness of suicide and stop hiding it. We should talk openly about it so that people feeling disturbed can reach out for help and know that they will receive a caring response.

“People who are suicidal do not always feel they can speak about it because suicide is a taboo subject in our society. Let’s change that.”

Singer Eve, from Weston, who works as a support worker for adults with special needs, urges people to be more understanding.

She said: “Young people suffer abuse and bullying on social media. People don’t care what they say. There is a lot of negativity.”

Eve, who has two young children, has already raised £100 for the mental health charity Mind at a gig in The Dockside pub in Weston Point.

Junior Dayvis, Dan Smith, Katie Smith, Gareth Heesom, Alex Banner and Matty Brown will be performing with her at Runcorn Cricket Club on Moughland Lane from 7pm to 11pm on Saturday, September 30 to boost the funds.

Wellwishers have also baked cakes to sell and businesses have donated prizes for a raffle and tombola.

Eve said: “I would like to make this an annual event. Mental health needs a lot more support. It is sad that there is not enough money going into it.

“Josh was a kind and gentle person.

“He never had a bad word to say about anyone or anything. He was just laid back.

“It was a horrible feeling when I heard about his death. I felt really empty.

“Some young people say they feel embarrassed when they are upset and don’t want to tell anyone, especially men.

“It is heartbreaking to think young people are struggling.

“We must do more to promote mental health awareness.”

Papyrus has developed a new suicide prevention guide for teachers and school staff. It is free to download from papyrus-uk.org.

For practical and confidential suicide prevention help and advice call the Hopeline UK on 0800 068 4141.