Two kind-hearted sisters have found a novel way to thank the NHS staff who have been helping their Mum recover from mental health problems.
Sophie-Lee Jones, 11, and Jaimey-Lee, 6, from Dinorwig, recently cut a combined 25 inches off their hair to give something back to the mental health services that have been supporting their Mum, Sharlotte.
In doing so the grateful siblings raised over £185 for the I CAN mental health campaign which is being led by North Wales NHS Charity, Awyr Las.
The thoughtful duo’s shorn locks will also be put to good use by The Little Princess Trust charity, which makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.
Sophie-Lee said: “I love my hair but I’m happy for somebody else to enjoy it. I wanted to raise money for mental health in North Wales as a thank you for the support my mum receives. Hopefully the money raised will help other people.”
Sharlotte, 32, says she wouldn’t be here today without the support she has received in the community and from staff on Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Hergest Unit. The 40 bed unit in Bangor provides inpatient treatment for adults in Gwynedd and Anglesey who have a range of mental health problems.
Sharlotte said: “The support I’ve had from staff in the community and at the Hergest Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd has been absolutely fantastic – I really can’t fault them.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my girls for wanting to help other people who are struggling with their mental health. It’s something that means a lot to me and my family as the support I have received has been brilliant.
“I struggle on a daily basis and I could not have got this far without the help of the service.”
Despite being full of praise for the care she has received from BCUHB’s mental health services, Sharlotte says that more needs to be done to tackle stigma and encourage people to be open about their problems.
She’s welcomed the introduction of the I CAN campaign, which aims to raise money to improve the support available to people with mental health problems, tackle stigma, and encourage open conversations about mental health in communities across North Wales.
“From my personal experience people can judge you rather than even attempt to understand you or help you” she explained.
“There’s still a huge stigma attached to mental health problems and not everyone feels comfortable talking about it.
“The best thing to do if you are struggling is to not hide it. I held my problems in for so long and if I had got it treated sooner I might not be in the place I am today. The most important thing is if you feel low then in the first instance go to your Doctor to get help.”
A number of events are being organised to support the I CAN campaign. To get involved please contact the Awyr Las Fundraising Support Team on 01248 384395, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.awyrlas.org.uk/ICAN
Sharlotte Jones with her daughter Sophie-Lee