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My loss changed my perspective on what's important

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 Pippa

Warning: this blog mentions suicide.

Pippa blogs about how she became a trustee for Mind after her husband took his life, and why it’s important for senior leaders like her to take part in My Mission For Mind.

In September 2016 my world imploded when Michael, my wonderful husband of 21 years, took his own life. Although he was adept at hiding it, for years he had suffered periods of low mood and depression. His death was an enormous shock and entirely unexpected.

Whilst I had experience and some understanding of mental health problems from loving and living with Michael, until then I had not encountered any significant mental health challenges myself. I considered myself to be strong, capable, resilient and optimistic. But when Michael died, that all changed. The shock and devastation were overwhelming; despite having our two sons to look after and a full-time job, I totally fell apart. I first suffered from PTSD and then fell into depression.

“My loss has given me an entirely different perspective on what’s important in life.”

That was almost five years ago; it has been, and often still is, a difficult road, but I am slowly rebuilding my life and looking to the future. My loss has given me an entirely different perspective on what’s important in life. as a result I have changed jobs – still in the industry I love and where I have spent all my career but working in a business where I can thrive and feel valued. I am more fit than I have ever been (admittedly off a low base!), I create more time for myself, doing the things I love and with people who really matter to me.

I like to think that now I give, listen and support much more – not just through charitable work I do but in the way I lead, mentor, parent. I know I am very fortunate to have friends, family and two wonderful sons around me. I have had, and still have, excellent and regular professional support to help manage my mental health struggles.

Whilst I had some knowledge of Mind before 2016, I have come to know and deeply admire Mind and the incredibly valuable work they do and excellent support they provide. I’ve done this personally, through my lived experience and use of the Mind website/resources but also from a business and industry perspective, having worked with them to raise awareness and greater understanding of their mission, strategy and services.

Raising funds for Mind

I am proud to be able to raise significant funds for Mind in both my personal and professional life – at Michael’s funeral service and in 2018/19 I was president of women’s group, WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications Leadership, and selected Mind as my chosen charity, raising over £100k that year.

Tragically my husband did not reach out for help when he faced his challenges – not to an expert organisation like Mind or sadly, to anyone. I so wish he had. My sons and I now have; we know the positive and life changing difference it can make. Life can be so difficult, and at times we all need support however much we might not think we will. Living through a pandemic has shown every single one of us that. We know as a result of the past 18 months that the demand for all mental health services has grown exponentially, especially Mind’s.

“By supporting Mind your business and every member of your team are actively helping us.”

We have devised a new, relevant and refreshed three year strategy to help address this. By supporting Mind your business and every member of your team are actively helping us continue to do the vital and excellent work we must do, every single day, in order to help people struggling and to drive change. Mind won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. Thank you for helping them achieve this

I am committed to supporting those with mental health problems to enable them to get the help they need, when they need it. And I’m honoured to be able to do so by serving as a trustee for the fantastic organisation that is Mind, in memory of Michael.

Showing incredible leadership

I would like to say a huge thank you to the senior leaders taking part in My Mission for Mind. Stepping outside of your comfort zone in any aspect of life is a brave thing to do. You are all demonstrating incredible leadership and courage by doing it so publicly in a challenge such as My Mission for Mind and I applaud you for it. Bravo!

You can find more information on bereavement support and how to help yourself here. You can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123 (free from any phone) or email [email protected].

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