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Preston mum opens up on post-natal depression and what she’s doing about it

Posted on - 4th July, 2018 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, People, Preston News, Riversway
Preston mum Jess Johnson

A Preston mum has done something amazing to help those contemplating suicide stay upbeat.

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Jess Johnson, mother-of-two, has painted a series of heartfelt messages of love and support on pebbles and notes to give hope to people with mental health issues.

Having experienced post-natal depression herself, following the birth of her second child, Jess wanted to break the stigma and try put a smile on people’s faces.

On Friday (29 June) evening, Jess went down to Preston Docks with husband Craig Johnson and children Jake (aged five) and Phoebe (aged 11 months) to spread the love.

Jess with husband Craig Johnson and children Jake, 5, and Phoebe, 11 months.

Messages were lovingly tied around railings and pebbles were scattered around.

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Jess wanted to help others, knowing the kind of feelings they were experiencing.

Having be down for many months, and admitting she needed help, Jess spent one month in a mother-and-baby unit.

Jess, 30, from Bamber Bridge, said: “I want to put a smile on people’s faces. Even if I just help one person, it would all be worth it.

“I want people to know that it’s ok to not be ok.

“I was in denial for a long time. I knew I was feeling down and I didn’t admit it to myself until all of a sudden I wasn’t feeling anything anymore.

“There was a point when I was feeling suicidal and that isn’t something to be ashamed of. It was ok.

“I went to the mother-and-baby unit and that’s what really helped me. I started to feel normal again.

“That’s where I met my friend Jess Anderson and it wouldn’t have been the same outcome if it wasn’t for her.”

Jess still stays in touch with her friend Jess Anderson who has helped her incredibly throughout the process.

Following her time in the mother-and-baby unit, Jess discovered project ‘Bridge the Gap’ launched by Lisa Barnes.

The project involved leaving messages across bridges in Greater Manchester to remind people they are not alone.

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Jess loved the idea and decided to bring the same to Preston, adapting her love of painting.

Messages included quotes ‘The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die’, ‘Suicide doesn’t take the pain away, it just passes it to someone else’ and ‘Hey you, you are loved’.

Jess continued: “We went down on Friday night and spread them everywhere. Jake really enjoyed it – I’d love to know where all the pebbles are!

“Mental health happens to loads of people and I want them to know that it’s ok.

“When I finally admitted it, it became easier.

“There should be more awareness and people should be encouraged to talk.

“I want to get people talking with the messages and hopefully make someone smile.

“If everyone could do something to help, it would be lovely.”

You can go and discover all the messages around Preston Docks and hopefully you will smile too.

What is postnatal depression and how you can get help.

If you feel like you need someone to talk to, you can visit the Samaritans website or call 116123 from any phone, any time. And it’s free to call.

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