'It's OK not to be OK': Partner's simple message after suicide of North Yorkshire PC

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The partner of a police officer who took his own life is urging others to speak out about mental health problems, saying: "He was the last person anyone would suspect was at risk".

PC Mick Atkinson, a dog handler with North Yorkshire Police, was found dead at his home in Leeds by partner Kellie Taylor in October.

Ms Taylor, a deputy headteacher, said PC Atkinson, 37, had everything to live for.

She said: "Mick was someone who was making plans for the future, we’d just got planning permission to extend our house, we had holidays booked and weekends away planned.

"This was someone functioning, taking his children to all their after school clubs and smiling and laughing – this was the last person anyone would suspect was at risk of doing this."

PC Atkinson served with North Yorkshire Police for 17 years, before being forced to take 18 months off work through injury.

Ms Taylor said he had been hit hard by the news that he would never be able to return to frontline policing, but was otherwise happy.

As well as becoming father to Ms Taylor's two sons, Max and Harry, the couple had a baby daughter, Elizabeth, six months before Mick died.

He was also a junior rugby coach with Hunslet Warriors.

Ms Taylor said there was no warning that he would take his own life. But after he went missing on October 6, she found him dead at home the following day.

She said: "My world ended at that moment and it just wasn't ever expected at all. Nobody expected this to happen."

Following Mick's death  a fundraising campagin was set up by Ms Taylor's sister to raise money for mental health services.

His former colleagues are also fund raising to support the family. 

Ms Taylor says, by speaking out, she hopes to encourage others to be more open about their own mental health problems.

She said: "No matter how desperate you’re feeling or how hopeless you feel, please know that your family will not be better off without you. 

"Talk about the thoughts you’re having; your family would much rather look after you now than be left with the devastation of not having you for the rest of their lives. 

"I wish Mick could have been well enough to understand that it’s OK not to be OK and that I took as much pleasure in looking after him, as he did in looking after all of us."

For Help & Advice contact the WSP

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Sunday, 16 December 2018

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