Helen Pritchard

Helen’s fundraiser for Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS Shropshire)

Fundraising for Shropshire Mental Health Support
raised of £5,000 target
by 76 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
24 Peaks Challenge , 22 August 2023
We Support all mental health issues to raise awareness and understanding


Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

My son, Stephen, took his own life in early January 2020, just one week after his 24th Birthday. He had been battling with depression since the age of 18, but for much of that time he managed to keep the severity of his suffering under wraps from most people.

In our eyes and the eyes of all that knew him, he was larger than life; intelligent, kind, funny, intuitive. His mission in life was to make everyone happy, to make everyone feel accepted and special, even though he struggled so dreadfully with depression himself.

Stephen, as many boys/young men do, felt ashamed of what he was going through; that somehow it was his fault that he had depression, hence he downplayed his symptoms, wouldn't discuss them with family or friends and for a long time, refused to believe that anyone could help him. For much of the time, he suffered alone.

As a family, we were in the dark, as Stephen was in digs at university, but we realised that the severity of his condition had reached a peak, when six months before we lost him, Stephen was sent home from University, claiming he was a danger to himself. Even though this was the case and that he was heart-broken he had to leave his studies, he still played-down his symptoms and put on a brave face. He was seeing a psychiatrist at home, was holding down a job at Marks & Spencer's and had also been going regularly to the gym, as he knew that physical exercise was supposed to improve your mental state. Again, he was battling on. We believed he was safe; he was living at home again and we could keep an eye on him.

On the morning of Sunday 5th January, just 7 days after his birthday, we lost our beautiful son. He had taken his own life.

Nothing prepares a parent for this, but for many months after his death, I sought comfort from the fact that he was no longer suffering; he no longer had to endure the pain and misery he was feeling. This was the only way I could get through losing my boy.

During a particularly bad time in November 2019, we sought help from MHS Shropshire, a charity that offers support to people and their families suffering the effects of mental and emotional distress. They offered us a safe place to talk at their centre in Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury and, although the trained volunteer couldn’t give direct psychiatric help, they offered kindness and an ear and were able to recommend organisations that could help further. This was a lifeline not only for Stephen, but also for myself, as living with someone who is suffering in this way makes you feel very isolated and scared.

So, myself and my two wonderful friends, Sarah and Lindsay, have set ourselves the challenge of scaling 24 Peaks in the Lake District over two days (around 12 hours on day 1 and 10 hours on day 2, with a little sleep in between 😅) to help raise money for MHS Shropshire, so that they can continue to do the wonderful work they are doing. Take a look at our Team page above or below - The 24 Peakers.

Please give generously and we will promise to train hard and achieve the goal we have set ourselves.

Thank you so much for supporting us 🙂

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About the charity

Shropshire Mental Health Support is a local charity that is dedicated to the provision of mental health support to all members of the public. The charity is open 24 hours a day, supporting all levels of mental health needs, from information, support and crisis.

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