Emma Webb, a mother who tragically lost her teenage daughter to suicide, is embarking on a unique journey to raise awareness and funds for mental health. Inspired by her daughter’s love for horses, Emma is dragging a life-size resin horse named Miles on a 160-mile trek from Chepstow to London. The aim is to draw attention to the importance of mental health and remind those who are struggling that they are not alone.
Brodie, Emma’s 16-year-old daughter, was a talented equestrian who took her own life after a riding session. Since then, Emma has become a source of support for other young people who reach out to her with suicidal thoughts. The idea to pull Miles, weighing over 30kg, to the International Horse Show in London was born out of Brodie’s passion for horses and showjumping. Emma believes that using Miles as a conversation starter can help break the silence around mental health and encourage open discussions.
The sight of Emma maneuvering Miles through the streets of Newport has already garnered attention and sparked conversations about mental health. People are intrigued by the unusual sight and often approach Emma to learn more about her cause. Despite the challenges of navigating the horse through corners and obstacles, Emma remains determined to raise awareness and make a difference.
Emma emphasizes that there were no warning signs before Brodie’s tragic death. Losing a child to suicide is a devastating experience that she never imagined would happen to her and her daughter. The period following Brodie’s death was filled with shock and disbelief, compounded by the subsequent lockdown that disrupted funeral arrangements. Emma’s strength and resilience during this difficult time are commendable.
In 2021, Emma undertook another fundraising walk for the suicide prevention charity Papyrus, completing the final leg on what would have been Brodie’s 18th birthday. Papyrus highlights that suicide is the leading cause of death among individuals under 35 in the UK. Emma strongly believes that schools should play a more active role in discussing mental health and providing information about available support. She encourages educators to teach young people that it is okay to seek help and that they are not alone in their struggles.
Emma receives messages from young people reaching out for help with their mental health. While she wishes she could personally provide them with the support they need, she directs them to relevant charities and resources. The heartbreaking reality of so many young people suffering silently deeply saddens her, and she fears that others may follow in her daughter’s footsteps. Her journey aims to shed light on this urgent issue and prevent further loss of life.
Emma plans to walk through central London on a day bustling with Christmas shoppers, hoping to capture the attention of passersby. She wants people to understand the purpose behind her journey and the significance of Miles. Emma believes that Brodie would have mixed feelings about her endeavor, considering her mother “mad” but ultimately proud of her determination to make a difference.