Without going into detail, my eldest son took ill when life got too much for him & disappointments came at him hard & fast. One of them being the closure of our steelworks where he was proud to say he worked. The thought of being 'on the dole' swallowed him up & his mental health plummeted. He literally lost himself, believing he was worthless.
This sent me on a journey of accessing the local services & I saw from the inside the flaws in the system, especially with so much red tape/bureaucracy to deal with, not to mention the frustration the service workers were dealing with too.
Unfortunately we didn't get the happy ending, as the services couldn't agree who should be taking care of him & as he couldn't take care of himself due to his "head being broken", as he described it.
If we have a body that is broken in any way, a healthy mental health can help heal the body - but if it's the head that's broken - the body cant do much to heal the mind!
My son Jay just couldn't take care of his body as his mind told him he wasn't worth the effort & eventually it stopped working.
After a week in the hospital his machines were turned off & the family are still reeling from the shock of losing him last January.
I realise now that I will never 'get over it' as he was my child, my first born & the hopelessness I felt/feel at not being able to save him, especially knowing what I know about mental health/well-being still haunts me!
I also realise how much the 'system' is broken & my son wasn't the first to fall through the cracks in the system (as his own GP said to me on one of the days I was begging her to give him a home visit - which she said she couldn't do) & he wasn't the last, as I've heard of many in Middlesbrough since.
Thanks to all I know about mental health, I am finally having days like yesterday, were I don't fall in a heap crying over losing him & in his honour I will carry on trying to raise awareness of health issues, especially mental & emotional well-being.
I will also carry on with my work for Inward Bound, which I set up in 2014 after seeing how he couldn't get the help he needed. I wanted people to access help without having to pay high psychological costs, which is what happened when Jay first asked for help.
As he was working full time, he was told he had to pay the £45 hour - which he couldn't bring himself to do having a mortgage & a family to look after. Thankfully this is changing, as has some of the rules about care in the area.
'They' hope that we get some comfort knowing my campaigning means that other families wont have to go through this pain - but it depends on what part of the day I get asked as to whether it does, but usually not.
Not having him around the table at family gatherings is still too raw. Plus, it was a very high price to pay to get the rules in place that should have been there when we needed it.
www.inward-bound.co.uk for information on FREE wellbeing classes & courses.