Children’s author Jonny Zucker, 49, took his own life in November 2016 after living with depression for over two decades. His most popular novel ‘Striker Boy’ (first published 2010) is being republished with all the proceeds going directly to the bereaved family and the mental health charity, Mind.
Jonny dedicated his life to getting kids reading, working for many years as a primary school teacher before becoming a children’s author. He is survived by his wife Fiona Starr, who is a psychologist, and their three young sons.
“Jonny was my best friend and soul mate. Even towards the end, when his flame was burning out, we managed to salvage deep moments of love and humour. The Striker Boy campaign gives me hope and comfort that his death wasn’t in vain, that even in death Jonny can still inspire thousands of children all over the world through his words,” says Fiona.
One in four people will live with a mental health problem every year and it is the largest killer of men under 50.
Beyond funds, the Striker Boy campaign is raising awareness of mental health issues in adults and children. A range of free teacher resource packs for schools, including an ‘emotional resilience resource’ to help primary school teachers promote positive mental health can be downloaded here.
A special event is being held at Masorti Judaism’s New North London Synagogue on 10 October, World Mental Health Day. The evening is a tribute to Jonny and celebrates the relaunching of Striker Boy. Click here to find out more and to book your place.
Paul Farmer, Mind’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen as the charity partner for Striker Boy by the Zucker family. Their support will mean that Mind can continue providing vital services, like our Infoline, so people can make their own choices and access the treatment and support that is right for them. This partnership will help us to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.”
Fiona’s cousin, radio and television presenter Jonny Gould received the news of his cousin-in-laws death whilst live on air. He feels strongly that this is a story the world needs to hear, “Mental health needs to be discussed in the open and these personal stories need to be shared”.