From family support, fitness classes and learning to art exhibitions, festivals and talks, our activities are wide and far reaching.
Mark Foster, Coin Street's Head of Property and Facilities Management, kindly took the time to share with our Communications Team the story of the inspiring work that he and his family do to support young people's mental health. We are proud to share their incredible work and hope that it inspires all who read it.
Please note: the following article covers some difficult topics, including mental health and loss, that may be triggering for some people, we have included some sources of support at the bottom if you need them.
Mark and his wife Jody's daughter, Ellie, like many teenagers struggled with anxiety and depression. After some time, Ellie decided enough was enough and she courageously reached out for help. She took it upon herself to contact mental health services but faced with a long wait for support, she looked to ways she could help herself.
Ellie began to journal, use affirmations and score her wellbeing each day. She meditated, used healing crystals and mindfulness to soothe her anxiety and committed to exercising and eating healthily. After several months of helping herself, with support of a mental health nurse, Scot Jones, Ellie transformed herself and her wellbeing. She became happier, more confident and was determined to help others feel this way too, no longer needing Scot's support.
Tragically in 2020, Ellie was hit by a car whilst out jogging and died from her injuries. A few months later, Mark and Jody were able to go through Ellie's belongings and found that she had documented her journey in journals. All of the methods she had used and the details of her incredible strength and determination to help herself were there. They decided to share Ellie's work and create a platform for her legacy to help other young people experiencing similar things.
Piecing together Ellie's creative journals, poems and social media posts, backed by a song recorded by Ellie's friends and VoiceOver from her mum, Jody, they created a video showing her story (watch below and read on for the rest of the story).
The video took off and really resonated with young people. The work continued and an online journal was created, in collaboration with Ellie's best friend, so that other young people could find ways to help themselves just as Ellie had. This journal is helping many young people and has even been used by schools to support their students' mental wellbeing.
But the work didn't stop there! They applied for funding, created a Community Interest Company (in less than two months) and on 6 January this year, Ellie's Angels was formed. Working with young people and mental health professionals including Scot, they have created an app called Better U. The app aims to be an accessible, appealing way for young people to support their mental wellbeing. There's a chat feature that helps you to journal easily by responding to questions. You can track your mood, reflect on the activities that influence your wellbeing and easily get support in a way that suits you. The app is currently aimed at young people ages 12-25 but there are plans to create one for young people with special educational needs and children in primary school.
On top of being our brilliant Head of PFM, Mark is a Director of Ellie's Angels, alongside his wife, Jody. They work to ensure that Ellie's legacy continues to be a positive one through Ellie's Angels, running the company and spreading the word in Schools and organisations and they have lots of exciting plans to continue this in the future.
How can you support?
You can make a donation through PayPal here to support their plans for the future. Watch Ellie's story in the video above and spread the message to young people you think could benefit! You can download the app here and read more about Ellie's story, Ellie's Angels and all of their latest news on their website here.
The message on the Ellie's Angels homepage says "Ellie chose happy and so can you..." and that feels the perfect way to close this post. Please share Ellie's inspiring work and reach out if you need support.
Sources of support:
Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. They're open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, get in touch however you like.
Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Text SHOUT to 85258.