Bedford family creates legacy for son through documentary and mental health awareness events

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Fabio Moliterno and his father Guy

A family from Bedford whose lives have been devastated following the death of their son are taking part in two local initiatives to improve understanding of mental health and suicide and will be featured in a BBC documentary.

Guy Moliterno’s son, Fabio, took his own life in September 2021 following a struggle with mental health. The family are determined to turn this heartbreaking event into a positive for the community as Fabio’s legacy.

Guy and his family are supporting a well-being event this Sunday (5 June) which aims to break the stigma of mental health to encourage men to talk more openly about their feelings.

The Wellbeing Expo is organised by Spectacularts and takes place from 12.30pm in the Harpur Suite on Harpur Square. It is free to enter and will host talks and information from mental health service providers and organisations.

“Alongside Sunday’s event, Spectacularts will be funding a First Aid In Mental Health training course that we are offering to all barbers and salons in Bedford,” said event organiser, Sharon de Leonardis.

“This will teach participants how to spot the signs of mental health conditions and how to give immediate and correct help.

“It also teaches them how to take care of their own mental health and how to implement a positive mental health culture.”

Fabio Moliterno at his barbershop, Escobarbers

Fabio’s legacy

Before his death, Fabio ran Escobarbers in Bedford town centre and the family have kept the business going as his legacy. Over 650 people attended his funeral, with tributes laid outside the shop.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” said his father, Guy Moliterno. “But if I’d been more aware of the signs of Fabio’s mental health struggles I might have been able to spot them and help him.

“So many people reached out to our family after his death to tell us how he’d helped them when they were struggling. Looking back, he could probably relate to how they were feeling.”

BBC documentary

To encourage a greater understanding of mental health and suicide, the Moliterno family are featured in a BBC TV series called We Are England which focuses on the Band of Brothers – Men Heal project, run by Samson’s Academy Charity and Meaningful Education Practice in Bedford.

The documentary – filmed in and around Bedford – looks at the charity’s work on suicide prevention and men’s mental health – a project conceived by lead community engagement advocate, Anita Powell.

Guy during filming at Samson’s Academy for the BBC documentary

“The episode will focus on suicide intervention and prevention and follows the training being provided to local barbershops, men’s groups and local businesses facilitated at Samsons Academy,” said a spokesperson.

The Band of Brothers – Men Heal, is a two-day course which promotes intervention platforms and practices around self-harm and suicide.

“The idea behind this is that barbers are in a position where on a daily basis they build relationships of trust and open communication with their clients and members of the community.

“It is during this time when the training can support barbers and others to identify signs and symptoms that an individual may be experiencing mental health difficulties.

“This is where the newly learnt skills, knowledge and tools from the training can be utilised to engage with the individual and provide support, understanding and signpost to further help and support where required.”

The documentary follows the Moliterno family who have taken part in the training.

Speaking about the course, Guy said: “As a parent, if I had taken that course nine months ago, I’m convinced my son would still be here.

“It may sound like a strong statement, but I believe that if I’d been more aware of the signs, I would have been able to spot that Fabio was struggling.

“Losing a child, it’s as if half of my heart has gone and the only people who can understand how it feels are people who have also gone through this.”

Guy Moliterno at Fabio’s mausoleum

Guy told the Bedford Independent that if being part of the documentary can prevent even one life being lost, it will be worth it.

“I’ve become so passionate about mental health and suicide prevention – this information needs to be in schools, it should be on the curriculum. We all need to learn the early stages of when people need help and understand how to speak to people when they’re in crisis.

“We tell people to ‘man up’, but that’s the wrong thing to say. Men feel they can’t show any vulnerability, but if we’re more aware of what to look out for, there are a lot of things that we can do to help.”

If you are interested in undertaking the training please get in contact with Samsons academy on Email: info@samsons-academy.org or visit their website samsons-academy.org

For Coaching and therapy enquiries please contact Meaningful Education Practice on Email: admin@mepractice.co.uk or visit their website mepractice.co.uk

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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