Heather writes about why supporting Mind on her wedding day meant so much to her.
For as long as I can remember, my mum suffered with depression. It was not always bad, and I can remember long periods where it seemed to be gone completely, but it would always come back.
As one of three of her children but her only daughter, we would spend a lot of time chatting and putting the world to rights. I’m sure we thought that, between us, we could solve all of the world’s problems. We were very close and I always thought that if it ever got too much, that she would be able to come to me for comfort and advice.
In March 2012, my mum took her own life as a result of her depression. I know now that she thought she was a burden on us and we would be better off without her. I felt if only she had spoken to me and told me about this, I could have fixed this and reassured her this was not the case, at the time I did not realise the extent of her depression or how powerful and debilitating a mental illness could be.
Read about suicidal feelings
"Mind helped me realise I was not alone and gave me hope and a reason to talk about my mum, something that I had struggled to do for a long time."
I dealt with many emotions in the early days and this was the most difficult part of the grieving process. Confusion, anger and frustration can take over and it wasn’t until I started to understand the illness and the struggle that so many people of all different walks of life have to endure, that I was able to begin to come to terms with what had happened.
I was already aware of Mind and after reading through their website and the blogs from people who have been through a similar experience or had lost someone in the same way. Mind helped me realise I was not alone and gave me hope and a reason to talk about my mum, something that I had struggled to do for a long time.
"There is still a lot of stigma around mental health so we hoped that if our guests saw how open we were with it, that it would get them talking about mental health."
My now husband Josh was, and is still, extremely supportive when I have my bad days, which do still happen, particularly around the anniversary of Mum’s passing. When Josh and I got engaged back in May 2015, we could not wait to get planning for the big day, but it was also on my mind that my mum would not be there to see it. We decided to support Mind on our wedding day as we wanted to come up with a way that we could honour her memory and give back to the charity at the same time.
There is still a lot of stigma around mental health so we hoped that if our guests saw how open we were with it, that it would get them talking about mental health. We chose Mind pin badges as our wedding favours and attached them to a card to let them know a donation had been made on their behalf.
By the end of the meal it was lovely to see guests wearing their badges and we received numerous comments on what a thoughtful idea it was.
As a charity that is close to our hearts we were proud to support Mind on our wedding day and we are both firm believers that the stigma attached to mental health is slowly but surely being driven away. If we have helped our guests become aware of this wonderful charity and the issues it seeks to tackle by having the pin badges as favours, then our perfect day has new meaning and it gives both of us and our families great comfort.
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Visit our information pages to find out more.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.