Sunderland mum whose husband and son took their own lives encourages men to speak out on mental health

A Sunderland mum who lost both her husband and son when they took their own lives is encouraging men to speak out about mental health as she raises cash for charity.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 11:16 am
Tommy Keegan (left) and Gary Keegan (right)

Gloria Keegan, 63, from Roker, lost her husband Tommy to suicide in 1999 aged 44, and her son Gary last year in similar circumstances, aged 39.

After going through the heartbreaking tragedy twice, care home worker Gloria wants no one else to feel the same pain and is encouraging men to speak out about their mental health and ask for help.

In memory of Tommy and Gary, Gloria and her sons Kris and Tony, have organised a fun filled family day at Eppleton Cricket Club in August to raise money for Washington Mind.

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Gloria, with her sons Gary, Kris and Tony.

The event, ‘Music for Mind’, will feature music, family friendly activities, children’s rides and a charity football match, with all the money raised going to support Washington Mind.

Gloria will be attending the event with Kris, Tony, and her five young grandchildren, Leon, Tom, Jack, Joe and Ted.

She said: “Tommy and Gary were both funny, kind and very, very loving. Both are missed so much, not just by us the family, but the whole community.

“We want to help raise awareness of ill mental health, for everyone to understand ill mental health and the effect it can have on a person, especially men.

"A lot of men find it hard to admit or talk to anyone about their feelings. We want men to be able to reach out, know where they can seek help and know it’s okay not to feel okay.

“We want to help others and their families, even if we prevent one person from taking their own lives we will have achieved our goal.”

Organising the event has helped Gloria and her son’s deal with the grief of losing Gary last year and are determined to now help others.

Charities like Mind provide vital mental health support to the community and are key in supporting people struggling.

Gloria added: “Washington Mind provides a fantastic service where people can talk in confidence, freely and openly without any judgement.”

The Music for Mind event will take place at Eppleton Cricket Club on Saturday, August 29, with tickets free for children and costing £2 for adults, with entry from 1pm.

Anyone can contact Washington Mind on 0191 4178043.

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