SHE has spent years fighting off her demons – and now Miss Portsmouth is trying to encourage others to do the same.
Lucie Richardson, 27, will be taking part in the Miss Great Britain finals in Leicester next week, but says that the journey, sharing her story with people, has been the fulfilling part.
The mother-of-two entered the competition last year to escape her comfort zone, but says she has now become truly settled in to the idea of being Miss Portsmouth.
She said: ‘My biggest fear was my mental health problems having an impact on my kids as they grow up.
‘I’ve tried to get out into the community and urge people to talk about their problems.
‘With mental health there is still such a stigma and you can feel like you should be embarrassed about your problems.
‘You feel like you are fighting it alone, and that should never be the case.
‘It is okay to open up to others around you. This is a serious issue and should be treated as such.’
Lucie says that all the girls competing for the title of Miss Great Britain are more than just a pretty face, and have each overcome their own personal problems.
She said: ‘All of the girls at the competition are such great people, so we are all really friendly with one another.
‘When we arrive in Leicester there are two days of preparation and interviews.
‘But it is a fun experience and I’m really proud to be representing Portsmouth.’
Lucie says that she will be thinking of everyone in the city when she is at the event.
‘Everyone in Portsmouth is absolutely fantastic,’ she said.
‘That being said, I am particularly proud of our naval heritage.
‘When I went on a tour of HMS Victory the naval staff were all so welcoming – I have so much respect for the work they do.
‘I am just going to be myself, give it a go and see where we end up.’
For more information about the competition, go to missgreatbritain.co.uk.