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 death of my younger brother, Zachary.
The shock of my brother's passing rippled through the community and after a short speech made by myself at his funeral, many 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 to spread 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 of which have caught me off guard as I just go about my day to day life doing what I do. It has become natural to me, so when I receive notice of another nomination I am always 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 some light on the importance of mental health and the issues within our community.
Within the borough, the number of struggles that I have encountered 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 eight people weekly as a mental health mentor and remain on 24-hour 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 that they have been unable to get after years of asking for help.
After receiving a national nomination and being shortlisted 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 six months.
As the Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor's Charity of the Year I was able to launch our first campaign “Keep the Light On” last month. This 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 - an 11-day cycle covering 1,200 miles. Passing 120 towns in Northern Ireland along the way, he lit a 7-day burning candle and in the end lit up Northern Ireland in aid of ZGBTST and Mental Health Awareness. Since this, he has received a nomination for the Northern Ireland Superstar Fundraiser of the Year.
Next month I will be following up on 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 is our Fight Night in the Magherabuoy Hotel on December 6. This combines both of my passions to raise awareness and funds, with top competitors from across the UK attempting to win the £1,000 cash prize! Tickets range between £15 for standard seats and £20 for premier and are available from the hotel or via paypal.me/zgbtst.
I would love to hear from members of the community; do you have any questions for me to answer in next month’s issue? If you have a question, please contact me using one of my socials (Instagram @yasmingeddis or Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust on Facebook) and I will respond next month.
All questions will be anonymous and treated confidently.