In 2019, I was offered a monthly column in my local newspaper. Since then I have wanted to collect them all in the one space and provide everyone with the opportunity to read my views and what was happening within the trust at that time, also as a way for myself to remember different milestones and important events/dates which stood out so much to be included.
Entry 1 – November 2019
Welcome to my first Monthly Column in collaboration with The Chronicle, for those who do not know me, my name is Yasmin Geddis and I run and founded the Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust in 2017 after the suicide of met younger brother, Zachary.
The shock of my brothers passing rippled through the community and after a short speech made by myself at his funeral, many people started to approach me with their own stories of mental health whether it was their own or someone they loved who they had lost or was suffering. I created the Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust to provide something different to the community, with 24/7 contact option and one to one meetings scheduled within months of its launch all done by myself voluntarily. It received more support from the community than I thought was physically possible.
So much so, that despite my grief, I began to see a bigger future for the Trust, Zachary’s story began spreading and I started to believe that we could actually change people’s lives. In the past two years I have received nominations for many local and national inspirational awards, all which have caught me of guard as I just go about my day to day life doing what I do, it has become natural to me – so when I get notice of another nomination I am always extremely shocked to find out that someone who I do not know, has been touched by the work that I do.
I am honoured to be asked to provide the community with a one of a kind column that can hopefully shed a light on the importance of mental health and the issues within the community.
Within the borough, the number of struggles that I have encountered with the community has been alarming. I am involved with and will continue to be involved with people of various backgrounds who are all suffering in their own way. At this moment in time I see 8 people weekly as a mental health mentor and remain on 24 hours call out every day of the week. These people have a wide range of issues such as homelessness, anxiety, eating disorders, sexual abuse and domestic violence. We work together to create a more practical plan of recovery and improvement; they see me as a stable person within their lives who can fully support them and obtain results which they have been unable to get after years of asking for help.
After receiving a national nomination and shortlisting for ITV’s Most Inspirational Woman of the Year and speaking on daytime television about my journey, work and aims I came home and developed three campaigns to launch within the next 6 months. As the Causeway Coast and Glens Mayors Charity of the Year I was able to launch our first campaign “Keep the Light On” on October 16th which works with bereaved families, those who are suffering and those who have passed through suicide and early next year will see the launch of the remaining two – you can support the Keep the Light on Campaign by purchasing a candle available on our Website and Facebook Page.
My father has also received recognition for his Cycle for Suicide, a 11 day cycle of 1200 miles hitting 120 towns in Northern Ireland along the way lighting a 7 day burning candle and in the end lighting up Northern Ireland in aid of ZGBTST and Mental Health Awareness – he has received a nomination for the NI Superstar Fundraiser of the Year and the ceremony and reveal of the winner is held on Thursday 22nd November at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.
Next month, I will be following up the Trust’s work and collaborating together a list of steps that can be followed in order to reach your own mental health goals with regards to referrals and appointments – including somethings that I do not believe that the public are aware of.
But for now, I wish to highlight two things – The Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust’s second fundraiser of the year – our Fight Night in the Magherabuoy Hotel on Friday 6th December – combining both of my passions together to raise awareness and funds, with the world’s top competitors from across the UK attempting to win the £1000 cash prize! Tickets range between £15 for standard and £20 for premier and are available from the hotel or from purchasing via paypal.me/zgbtst
Question corner: I would love to hear from members of the community with your questions for me to answer in next month’s issue – if you have a question, please contact me using one of my socials below and I will respond next month. All questions will be anonymous and treated confidently.
Entry 2 – December 2019
Welcome to my second instalment of The Mind Matters column and thank you all for the great response to entry 1 – I was overwhelmed by everyone’s support and agreement that this is something that benefits the community in regard to more mental health awareness.
As we approach, for some, one of the happiest times of year, it is important to highlight that this is, unfortunately, not always the case for many. The Christmas period can be a time of worry, stress and unhappiness for many who have lost a loved one, suffer financially or feel overwhelmed with the need to feel happy, therefore increasing their guilt in not feeling a certain way. Christmas is about family. Taking care of one another should be the top of everyone’s wish list to ensure that their family members are being looked after, feeling secure and supported. I have written a blog post on ‘My Last Christmas’ on The Original Superstar Blog that indicates tell-tale signs of festive depression and ways in which you can support the ones you love. The Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust, every year hosts an ‘Alternative Xmaz’ a safe place for the vulnerable, lost and lonely members of the community to come together to talk, support and listen. It is open 24/7 for those needing additional emotional or mental support from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day in St. Malachys Parish Hall Coleraine – a pinnacle time when unfortunately, most mental health services are closed. I found out the real meaning of Christmas the first time someone walked through the doors of our Alternative Xmaz to talk to me about how they felt in 2017, he is still here today.
As this is my last entry until 2020, I thought I would publish some beginners’ steps to reach your own mental health needs as we approach the New Year, in hope to inspire others to, in 2020 tackle our mental health and leave our hidden battles in 2019.
- Make a GP appointment – most mental health units do not accept ‘self-referrals’.
- Get in touch with a community based mental health group – they can support you whilst you wait for your professional mental health assessment to come through.
- Write notes – some people find it easier to write down their feelings and give it to a family member or support worker from the groups to further make them understand how they are feeling. Also write down what you wish to achieve from your sessions – this can help guide a counsellor in the right direction
- You don’t have to be alone – if you feel you cannot speak for yourself, you can assign someone to come to the GP or the Mental Health Unit to speak for you and inform the doctor of your needs or current situation with you present. This can help the road to recovery happen a lot faster.
If you require assistance in finding the community mental health team that best suits your situation or a referral for professional counselling, you can get in touch with ZGBTST and I can provide you with all the information and contact the relevant people to ensure you get the help you need in the quickest timeframe possible.
Morellis Thai Curry Night in Aid of ZGBTST – Wednesday 18th December 6pm – 9pm £5.
Alternative Xmaz – Tuesday 24th – Wednesday 26th December. St. Malachys Community Centre.
Question corner: I currently see a counsellor and I don’t feel it working, should I just leave?
Finding a counsellor is an important step in your mental health journey, it is important that you connect with your counsellor which you will with some and won’t with the other. Finding someone who has had similar experiences or is relatable in your circumstances can help you both connect on a different level. I would suggest, instead of leaving counselling altogether – you ask to change to someone else and have your notes given to them prior to your first session so they have an understanding of your needs and take it from there. Remember, it is your mind, your choice and your voice. Make cut decisions based on your aims for the future, if your needs are not being met, change the circumstances to make a difference.