The Russ Devereux Headlight Project has been founded in memory of Russ Devereux. Russ died by suicide on 6 May 2018, aged just 41. A loving, kind and caring husband and Dad to his three girls, Russ always had a positive outlook on life, was happy, had a great sense of humour and was fun-loving.
He had a healthy lifestyle, was laid back and easy-going in nature, and he always managed stress well, despite running the family business, employing more than 180 staff and winning a number of awards. Russ was well known and respected by the local business community and had excellent working relationships with his staff, while he was always supportive and generous with his time despite the fact that he always had a busy workload of his own.
Russ was also a talented golfer, a sport which was his passion and which lent itself well to his temperament.
Because of all this, Russ was the last person that anyone would have expected to end his life. Because of the devastating impact this has had on his family, friends and the wider community, we feel it is important to talk about suicide. The sort of crisis-driven stress that can result in suicide is especially dangerous because the physical signs are not always easy to identify. Suicide remains the single biggest killer of young men under the age of 45.
The idea for the Headlight Project came about because Russ was a loyal supporter of Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, for which he had undertaken a number of challenges raising funds for the local community causes the charity supports. The aim of the Headlight Project is to work with children delivering emotional resilience programmes in schools, as early intervention enables children to cope in later life with stressful situations or crisis.
The Project also offers one-to-one counselling and play therapy sessions. It is also a long-term aim of the Project to raise an awareness of the signs and symptoms of the triggers that lead to someone ending their life. I believe that if children are supported in their early years, they can be taught how to manage tricky situations and learn how to regulate and voice their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
In the longer term, subject to funding, we also have plans to go into secondary schools, colleges and the university to raise awareness of suicide, as it remains very much something people don’t like to talk about.
The Headlight Project logo was designed and created by our three girls. It is a tribute to Russ and his work in the family business and it is hoped that the project will provide ‘A guiding light when the road ahead is dark’.
All involved with the development of the Headlight Project are thankful to the Philanthropic Foundation for supporting its aims. I would like to thank our families and friends who have supported us through this difficult time and continue to do so, enabling me to make this project a reality.
Catherine Devereux and the Devereux girls
If you’d like to donate to the Headlight Project, please visit their website https://www.headlightproject.org/