Agnes lost her son, Paul, in 2015 and is sharing her story to help others know that they aren't alone. To help come to terms with the loss, Agnes, with the help of Paul’s friends, organised two concerts in his memory and there are more fundraising events to come.
My son Paul (AKA Geoff) had hidden his depression very well from those closest to him. As a result, his death by suicide in August 2015, aged 28, came as such a shock to his family and friends. At his funeral, so many of his friends confided in us that they too were battling with poor mental health. This ranged from feeling anxious right through to a more serious state of poor mental health. Yet, just like Paul, you would never have guessed by looking at them; outwardly they appeared to be fine.
In my opinion poor mental health, particularly in young people, has become an epidemic here in the UK and this needs to be addressed now. People need to feel comfortable in sharing their feelings, particularly young men. Poor physical health is widely accepted and talked about openly - which is only right - but poor mental health is almost a taboo subject and people are either unable or unwilling to discuss it. This needs to change. After all, mental health problems will and do affect one in four of us at some point in our lives.
It’s been so positive to see Paul's family and friends join together in arranging some fundraising for Mind in his memory. These events have included; two nights of music in Sheffield and Liverpool featuring raffles and tombola, a mixed football tournament, two comedy nights, three half marathons and a charity skydive. Somebody even asked for donations to be made to Mind in lieu of her birthday gifts.
Together we have raised over £20,000 for Mind so far and money is still being pledged for the Hackney Half Marathon and the planned sky dive, which are both yet to take place.
We will strive to keep fundraising for Mind, in memory of Paul, because we feel that if we can spare even one family the pain, anguish, helplessness and immeasurable loss that losing a child to suicide brings then some good will have come out of this terribly sad situation.
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