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Growing up with a mum with mental health issues

Growing up with a mum with mental health issues

Published by Grace Mcgachy
12:04pm 9th September 2019. (Updated at 4:18pm 9th September 2019)

What it's like growing up with a mum with a serious mental health issue. 

We've been speaking to Joanne from King's Lynn as part of our week-long mental health feature. 

Her mum was diagnosed with schizophrenia when Joanne was 9 years old and she took her own life in 2007.


This week on KLFM we're going to be talking about mental health every single day to try and encourage people to speak out and end the stigma. 

Joanne told us about her childhood: 

"There were times when mum was really bad and she was sectioned.

Some days I'd walk in from school and be worried about what I was going to home to.

Some of the things, I wish I'd never seen". 

mental health joanne 1


Joanne said her mum's schizophrenia and her death were difficult to talk to others about.  

"If somebody asked about mum I didn't like to say that's how she died but it's good to raise awareness because it does happen so very often.

I'm definitely not ashamed of what she did, but sometimes saying out loud you wonder what people are going to think." 

mental health joanne 1

But she does feel we've come quite a long way when it comes to talking about mental health 

"No-one really spoke about it and you didn't tell people that that's what she had because of what people think of it.

It can be quite scary for others.

None of her colleagues knew that she had paranoid schizophrenia, she didn't tell them.

If she had maybe they would of understood her more."

mental health joanne 1


12 years on from her mother's suicide Joanne tries to focus on the happy times she spent with her mum. 

She told us about the last she saw her:

"The day before it happened we went shopping.

We went home, put our pyjamas on and I really really wanted to say 'I love you mum' just wanted to tell her but you didn't because she could take it the wrong way.

I wish I'd been able to tell her because I never got the chance again." 


Joanne is sharing her mum's story to try and encourage people to speak out about their mental health. 

She says it was the openness with her family that helped her get through losing her mum. 

If you're living with a mental illness and need help Rethink Mental Illness offer Support and advice: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)

For more information on where you can get mental health support read KLFM's online guide.

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