Mental health crisis sparked career change for Leeds mum
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Abi Fenton 37, of Methley, was working as a special needs teacher when she suffered a “mental breakdown” in 2010 and became housebound with debilitating symptoms.
After initially being told she had suspected chronic fatigue, she was later diagnosed with anxiety and went on to seek help from a variety of natural therapies, to complement her traditional treatment.
Once well, she was inspired to quit teaching for good and retrain in holistic therapies and is now a clinical hypnotherapist, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, reflexologist and Reiki healer.
She has shared her story with the the Yorkshire Evening Post as we continue to shine a light on the issue of mental health through our #SpeakYourMind campaign, which was first launched in 2017.
The mum-of-two said she has gone from “struggling to manage with my own mental health to supporting others to heal”.
“I was off work as a teacher for a very long time and initially I was very ill, breathless, dizzy and I couldn’t leave the house,” she said.
Despite initially struggling to support herself with her mental health, Abi had what she called a “turning point moment” when she discovered natural therapies.
“Through taking a holistic approach to my well-being and with the right support, I was able to recover - and use my experience to support others,” she said.
Now Abi wants to raise awareness, money and share her own story in aid of mental health charity Leeds Mind - a charity close to her heart.
Throughout the month of May - the month of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week - she will complete her own personal fundraiser for the charity as well as donating 10 per cent from all her treatments.
She said: “I wanted to challenge myself this May because more than ever we need to support everyone with their mental health and Mind do such vital work,” adding: “I have noticed a large increase in clients coming to see me due to the pandemic and they have said they may have always had some anxiety of stress but the pandemic has heightened this [to the extent] that it is now affecting their life and [they] are needing support.”
Abi has set herself a range of challenges throughout the month including running 75 miles and hosting a raffle.
She also competed the charity’s #carrytheburden challenge earlier this month - to carry an object for 24 hours to raise awareness of the invisible burden that a mental health difficulty can represent.
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abi-fentonrunformind
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