‘Don’t be too proud to reach out’ - TV presenter's mental health appeal

The Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal discussed grief, death and dying. Picture: Justin Goff

TV presenter Simon Thomas will be part of the second Open Up event. Picture: Justin Goff - Credit: Justin Goff/goffphotos.com

Norfolk TV presenter Simon Thomas, who faced his own battle with mental ill health following the death of his wife in 2017, has urged people not to "suffer in silence".

Sharing his experiences as part of Open Up, our virtual conference on the issue of mental health, on Friday, he said his father had died during the pandemic giving him an insight into coping with grief in lockdown.

Norfolk TV presenter Simon Thomas taking part in Open Up online event with EDP editor David Powles. 

Norfolk TV presenter Simon Thomas taking part in Open Up online event with EDP editor David Powles. - Credit: Archant

The Open Up conference has seen debates and panels on various topic related to mental health, including nutrition, wellbeing in the workplace and a radio debate with panelists.

“There is never an easy or ideal time to lose someone but this is particularly tough,” he said. “Holding your dad’s hand as he nears the end with a rubber glove on is not ideal, but at least we got to see him. His funeral was very small but at least we got to be there. I recognise there are people who haven’t even had that. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard that is.”

He urged people to seek help. “Don’t be too proud to reach out, pick up the phone and keep talking.”

TV presenter and veterinary surgeon Jess French. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Norfolk TV presenter, conservationist, vet and mother Dr Jess French. - Credit: Archant

The event also saw Norfolk TV presenter, conservationist, vet and mother Dr Jess French share her experiences of having a young family in lockdown.

She said: “I have felt a lot of guilt because I don’t know if I’m making the right decisions.”

Asked how she coped she said: “It has been a hard time and I’m not saying I have the answers but the things I have tried to do is talking to people a lot.

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“I’ve found the best way of slowing down and calming my mind is getting out into nature.”

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