Family helping to spread mental health awareness

Gordon Allan and his daughter Claire at the launch of the Sally Allan Mental Health Awareness Programme.
Gordon Allan and his daughter Claire at the launch of the Sally Allan Mental Health Awareness Programme.

A new mental health initiative named after a much-loved Ponteland resident has been launched.

The Sally Allan Mental Health Awareness Programme was developed by Tyneside and Northumberland Mind in conjunction with the Allan family to help spread awareness of the issue.

It delivered its first awareness presentation to the staff of Silverbean digital marketing agency office in Newcastle, with the aim of making it available across the North East and beyond.

Those involved hope that individuals, companies and organisations will support further fund-raising initiatives to make this happen.

Sally Allan, 59, went missing from her home on Boxing Day last year.

Her disappearance sparked a huge search, before her body was recovered from water near to Riverside Quay at Tyne Dock West in South Shields on February 3.

The family believes she had been battling mental health issues for some time but had been masking them from everyone, including her husband Gordon.

He said: “Sally appeared to be an incredibly strong person who always put other people first. But I believe this strength worked against her, as she was able to keep her anxiety to herself, hiding it from family, friends and colleagues.”

Mr Allan added that the family has got involved in the initiative to get people talking about mental health so they might be more able to spot the warning signs, no matter how subtle, in themselves or their loved ones.

They have raised around £12,500 for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind and a further £10,000 for the national Mind charity.

Emily Pearson, training consultant for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, said it is hoped that the programme will also help to reduce mental health stigma in the region.

For more information about it, call the organisation on 0191 4774545.