Wife brought back from brink of death prompts Stevenage man’s London Marathon bid

Graham Southey, from Stevenage, is running the London Marathon to raise money for the Mental Health

Graham Southey, from Stevenage, is running the London Marathon to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. Picture courtesy of Graham Southey. - Credit: Archant

Faced with the very real fear that his wife would one day take her own life, a father-of-two is running the London Marathon to raise money for a charity which brought her back from the brink and helped to make their family stronger than ever.

Graham Southey, from Stevenage, and his family have had a hellish few years in the unforgiving hands of mental illness.

He explained: “My wife, Mandy, was diagnosed with emotional and unstable personality disorder a few years ago.

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lose someone you love through suicide? In June 2016 I had to think of exactly that.

“Thankfully Mandy didn’t succeed, but she tried, and left many a day and night where the kids and I didn’t know who we would come home to.

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“That’s now over and Mandy is on the mend.

“We, as a family, have become stronger than I could ever have imagined.

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“I have a wife who fights for everything and children who make me proud every day with their own achievements, none the wiser of the strain mental illness puts us all under.”

Graham says the turnaround was only possible through support from the NHS and mental health support groups, with the people encountered on their journey all supported in part by the Mental Health Foundation.

He said: “This is the reason I am running the London Marathon.

“Running is not something I’d choose to do for fun. In fact, I’m not sure I have run since leaving school 20 years ago, but I want to give back to a charity that has allowed me to see my wife go from a person who was on the brink of death, to a woman who is now in work and enjoying the finer things in life again, like her car.

“I want to give back to the charity that has helped her, and her family, through some of the worst times anyone can go through.

“I owe a lot to the people who have allowed me to have my wife back, and my children their mum back, and am passionate about breaking the stigma of mental health one marathon step at a time.”

To sponsor Graham, who has so far raised more than £2,300, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for ‘Graham Southey’.

For more information about the Mental Health Foundation, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk

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