Sister's suicide spurs Fratton man to launch new mental health charity

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AFTER struggling to deal with his sister's suicide, a man from Fratton is launching a mental health charity. 

Steve Gullidge is launching, 'Mentally Speaking', which will support those suffering from depression and anxiety.

The grave of Sharlyn (affectionately known as Charlie) Gullidge who died last year

The grave of Sharlyn (affectionately known as Charlie) Gullidge who died last year

The idea came about after the sudden death of Steve's sister, Sharlyn – affectionately known as 'Charlie' – who died last year at the age of 43.

Steve, also 43 said: 'Sadly, my sister took her own life. It killed me and I crashed.’

After Sharlyn's death, Steve struggled with his own mental health,.

The former security doorman said: 'I was offered counselling, but I'd sit there in silence. It has done me a lot of damage, not talking.

Steve Gullidge, left, and his sister Sharlyn

Steve Gullidge, left, and his sister Sharlyn

'My boss understood mental health and supported me.’

Steve is currently taking a break from work and decided to use the time to help others and give people a chance to talk as an alternative counselling sessions.

His first event, 'Donate A Brew' will offer a free coffee to those who need a space to talk and have very limited finance.

Talking of his hope that mental health sufferers might enjoy having a chance to speak with people, Steve said: ‘I created a Facebook page for 'Mentally Speaking', and set about discussing a 'Donate a Brew' event with Costa Coffee.

‘The idea is to offer chances for people to talk about the anxiety and depression with people in more informal spaces, such as coffee shops.

'I feel my sister would have turned up to have a chat.’

Steve hopes to eventually spread the event to other venues in the country.

He said: ‘I'd like to do something creative and perhaps even set up my own coffee shop.

'I'm there for the people. It can be one sentence and people click.

'To a degree, something like this hasn't been there before. No strings attached and no money spent for those who need that.'

The first Donate a Brew event will take place on Monday, November 18 between 11am and 2pm in the Costa Coffee in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

For more information on the charity search 'Donate a Brew' on social media.