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NI mental health charity founder Yasmin Geddis honoured by PM

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Award: Yasmin Geddis

Award: Yasmin Geddis

Award: Yasmin Geddis

A Coleraine woman who set up a mental health charity in memory of her "inspirational" brother has been recognised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Yasmin Geddis (27) established the Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust in October 2017. It is in honour of her brother, who took his own life at the age of 20.

She has been awarded a Points of Light Award, which is given each day in recognition of outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.

It is currently focused on people serving their community through the pandemic.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Geddis said she was grateful for the award and paid tribute to her brother.

She said: "Zachary was my only brother - it was just the two of us and now it is like a part of me is missing.

"We set up the trust on his 21st birthday and it helps keep him with me on a daily basis.

"He was a very inspirational person himself and the fact that his story and his life has touched the lives of hundreds and hundreds of other people keeps me and my parents going.

"He was ill for a long time before he died and even though we did everything we could and he got access to all the services, including private counselling, it still didn't help. During that time we noticed gaps in services which are the services we offer in the trust, and when people come and tell you that you have helped save a life, that means everything to me."

Ms Geddis set up the trust three years ago as a lasting legacy of mental health support for young people in Northern Ireland and to decrease the stigma around suicide.

Since its establishment, the charity has tirelessly supported young people through counselling, mentoring, advocacy, legal advice, crisis intervention, and workshops, all provided free of charge.

Mr Johnson wrote to Ms Geddis saying: "In helping others, and tackling stigma around suicide and mental health difficulties, you have created a lasting tribute to your brother Zachary."

He added: "I am truly lost in admiration of your strength."

Ms Geddis is accompanying her father Terry on a fundraising cycle around Ireland for the trust, which began on Monday.

Along the way they will light candles in every town they visit in memory of those who died by suicide before returning to Coleraine on July 12.

To contribute to the fundraising cycle visit www.gofundme.com/f/ZGBTST.

Anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis can telephone Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or ring the Samaritans on 116 123.

Belfast Telegraph