South Wales Echo

Cherelle tackling stigma of mental health problems

- THOMAS DEACON Reporter thomas.deacon@walesonlin­

JUST weeks before Christmas, Cherelle Tucker woke up one morning at home feeling fine.

But a few hours later she came to on her bedroom floor after taking an overdose. Her mum was giving her mouth-to-mouth, surrounded by paramedics.

After dealing with mental health issues since she was around 10, the dancer and model from Cardiff had decided she didn’t want to carry on.

After being rushed to hospital and seeing her loved ones “broken” in November 2017, Cherelle is now speaking out against the stigma surroundin­g mental health.

Cherelle, from Grangetown, Cardiff, said: “I woke up that morning fine, and then in a split second this feeling came over me and I didn’t want to be here anymore.

“[With] my medication I had, I just overdosed and at that time they were sedatives, so I was hoping I’d just fall asleep kind of thing.

“Then I woke up and my mum was giving me mouth-to-mouth. They took me to the poison unit at hospital – and it was a massive wake-up call.

“Seeing the look of so many people that love me broken because initially I was dead, and thanks to my mum - she saved my life.”

A self-described “outgoing, popular” person who models, dances and sports tattoos, Cherelle said people often have no idea the mental health issues she deals with.

Cherelle said: “Being the type of person that I am, people know me and they know my family, I get invited to events, that type of thing. I guess people looking at me wouldn’t realise.

“People come to me for advice about work things, but they never know what goes on behind closed doors.”

On World Mental Health Day she took to social media to share her story with friends who may not know of her mental health issues.

Cherelle said: “Since putting stuff like that Facebook post out on social media, I have now had so many people come to me saying that [if] someone like yourself can come out and talk about it then so can I.

“People have asked me where to go for counsellin­g, about medication, and now I want to be able to help.

“There’s so many people my age with these sorts of problems.”

Cherelle has recently been diagnosed with bipolar and emotionall­y unstable personalit­y disorder.

Despite having a successful career in various creative industries, Cherelle said it did affect her working life.

She said: “Some days are great and some aren’t, and that has affected my ability to work.

“Some days I’ll be fun and my highs are high, and then I have days when I can’t get out of bed.

“Having a normal nine-to-five job like that was very difficult, but with my work now I can express these ‘crazy’ thoughts and you are not on a time scale.

“So it’s a way to express, and more freedom if I am having a bad day.”

Although Cherelle is now comfortabl­e talking about her experience­s and feels people are more understand­ing, it wasn’t always as easy.

She said: “As a kid, you were classed as a bully. They thought I just had a bad attitude.

“Teachers told me I would never have any friends. That wasn’t nice.

“And that just pushed me more into it. I would think to myself, ‘Why am I mad?’ If people took it more seriously, I could have had a diagnosis sooner.”

 ?? CHERELLE TUCKER ?? Cherelle Tucker has opened up about her mental health issues
CHERELLE TUCKER Cherelle Tucker has opened up about her mental health issues

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