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String of celebrities backing fundraiser for mental health

SHINING LIGHT: Mental health campaigner Marcus Tisson, right, alongside a photograph of his late mother

A HOST of celebrities, including ex-Tottenham and England footballer Ledley King, will support the inaugural fundraising gala for mental health campaign, Don’t Suffer in Silence.

In addition to raising money for charities MIND and Bedazzle, the event on 2 June will raise the profile of the fledging campaign, featured on Facebook. The support group encourages mental health sufferers to discuss their challenges and access support.

Marcus Tisson launched the campaign, Don’t Suffer in Silence, with friend Carly Balfourth in January this year, after both his parents committed suicide in August 2016 after struggling with mental health issues. Speaking to The Voice, Tisson revealed his motives for organising the gala:

“MIND and Bedazzle are charities close to my heart, because of the invaluable help they provide for sufferers of mental illness, which contributed to my mother and father’s deaths.

“Without the campaign and my children, I wouldn’t be able to cope with the grief I experienced. A month after my mother died, I woke up and knew what I needed to do with my life. Don’t Suffer in Silence has helped me grieve and change my life for the better.

“I’m doing this for mum, who raised me as a single mother and suffered silently with depression.”


SUPPORT: Actor Adam Deacon will be in attendance at the gala on 2 June

At the gala, Tisson and sufferers of various forms of mental illness who have benefited from the Don’t Suffer in Silence Facebook page will relate their experiences and the importance of increasing mental health awareness.

One sufferer of depression who will be present at the gala was considering drowning herself in the River Thames shortly before telephoning the Don’t Suffer in Silence helpline and speaking with Balfourth. Fortunately, the sufferer, who prefers to remain anonymous, was persuaded not to commit suicide and shortly afterwards presented Balfourth and Tisson with a gift for saving her life. Recalling the experience, Tisson told The Voice:

“This lady’s experience made me cry, but spurred me on to continue with my campaign. I have been surprised by the amount of people I know who revealed they struggle with mental illness and who have reached out to commend me for the campaign. But I have also received a tremendous amount of support from around the world. It has been overwhelming.”

The Don’t Suffer in Silence Facebook page urges those with depression to contact their volunteers, who in turn provide them with suitable professional advice. It also shares the experiences of those who are successfully coping with mental illnesses.

After the gala, Tisson plans to start a charity, which will provide rapid counselling and advice hubs for individuals suffering with mental illness.

The father-of-two from Bow, east London, believes individuals suffering from depression and other forms of mental illness often wait too long to receive assistance and support,which drives some to harm themselves.

BAFTA Award-winning actor Adam Deacon, who has suffered with bipolar disorder, X Factor stars 5 After Midnight and Lewis Bloor are the celebrities who will also be present at the gala. Reality TV star Bloor, commenting on Tisson’s campaign, said:

“I have friends, families and colleagues whose lives would be made a lot easier if people talked openly about mental health issues and awareness was raised. Also, the world would be a little kinder.”

The Don’t Suffer in Silence Charity Gala takes place on 2 June at Canary Wharf Riverside Plaza Hotel, 46 Westferry Circus, London, E14 8RS. For information, email: dontsufferinsilence1@outlook.com or call 07545 588 498.

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