Mother and daughter set up Harrogate mental health support group

Left to right: Fiona Hernandez and her daughter Lolly
Left to right: Fiona Hernandez and her daughter Lolly

A mother and daughter have started their mission to change the face of mental health by setting up a support group for carers.

Fiona Hernandez and her 18-year-old daughter, Lolly, are two of five people who have set up ‘The Lighthouse’ to support carers of people who suffer with mental health.

Fiona and Lolly had the idea to start the project when they saw that there was nothing like this kind of service in the town.

Fiona said: “There is no provision for a safe place for anyone who is supporting someone who is mentally ill, there is nothing for them.

“When you actually get down to the nitty gritty there are loads of people that have been through it. A lot of them are sat behind closed doors thinking 'I don’t know who to turn to'.”

The 'lighthouse' concept was Lolly’s idea, to symbolise that the group is somewhere to guide people through rough times.

But while mental health covers everything from eating disorders to psychosis, the group said mental illnesses can often be stigmatised.

Group member Helen Atherton said: “If you were diagnosed with cancer, people wouldn’t say come on get out of bed, get to work, get to school, it’s invisible. It is that which makes the all consuming nature of it so difficult.”

The group launches on December 9 and will meet at Harrogate Grammar Sixth Form between 5.45pm and 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of every month (except August).

The group thanked Harrogate Grammar for providing them with a room to use, but wanted to highlight that it is completely independent of the school.

Fiona said: “We are early stages but we want to let it grow, our vision is that it would become a national group that supports all people.”

For more information about The Lighthouse group visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.