Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'John Helped Me and I Helped Him'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'John Helped Me and I Helped Him'

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA HUTCHINSON Reporter lisa.hutchinson@ncjmedia.com @lisachron

THROUGH thick and thin, Angie Eley and John Martin helped each other through their daily struggles.

Bonded by mental health issues and an understanding that both could relate to, side by side the pair faced their darkest days together.

But on August 23, 2017, Angie got the horrific news she dreaded when she was told John's body was found in Gateshead after falling from the High Level Bridge after he had gone missing from a mental health clinic based at the General Hospital in Newcastle.

John, 68, was an intelligent, articulate, caring man, who battled with paranoia.

And Angie understood his mood swings and his inner feelings as she too has mental health issues as she suffers from bipolar.

But now Angie has taken the brave decision to talk about her boyfriend and best pal as she strives to raise awareness of mental health.

And she hopes her story will help others to understand people like her and John and what they go through on a daily basis.

"Mental health doesn't choose a certain person, it happens to anyone," said Angie, 65, of Wallsend, North Tyneside, who has attempted suicide at last 15 times.

"By me talking about John's death, I hope to help others understand mental health."

John's life changed after joining Bangor University in Wales as a young man and the walls of his world seemed to close in on him as he felt isolated and unhappy. It was then he had his first breakdown.

But John's ray of light came when he met Angie over 25 years ago when they were both admitted to a mental health hostel in Scrogg Road, Walker, Newcastle.

"We loved each other and I still think a lot about him, even though he isn't here anymore," said mum-of seven Angie, who also has 21 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

"We would go for days out together and were with each other 24/7. I was in and out of the hostel for three years and he got a flat before me in Heaton, then I got a flat a couple of streets away. I got Cassie, a German Shepherd dog, and John and I would take her for walks. …

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