Ellie was like many teenagers. She struggled with the pressures of today’s society. She was bullied and had a low self-esteem. She battled with the way she looked, always comparing herself to the beauty portrayed online. She also had to juggle the ongoing pressure of education along with the general but difficult transformation from girl to woman. All these factors contributed to Ellie’s battle with anxiety. Life took its toll on her and she became quite unhappy. She suffered with headaches, tummy aches, sleepless nights and she was irritable or sad most of the time.
One day, Ellie decided that she had had enough. She found an inner strength and sought the help of the local healthcare services. We got in touch with the community psychiatric nurse, and Ellie began to talk with him regularly. She also accessed children’s talking therapies but it was a long 12 weeks before she could speak with them. This felt like a lifetime to a desperate Ellie, however, she was determined to start her recovery straight away and so she began to use some self-help methods. She began to log her thoughts and feelings in a journal each day. She wrote and repeated daily affirmations and scored her well-being in an attempt to re-wire her mind into thinking positively. She would also meditate and use healing crystals and mindfulness techniques to clear her mind and to help her feel calm and relaxed. She began eating healthily and exercising too.
Over several months, Ellie became the best version of herself she could be and her positive energy really shone through. Ellie was so happy, confident and healthy. She really loved life and herself once more. She was determined to help others feel that way too. It was agreed that Ellie no longer needed the support of the psychiatric nurse or the mental health team and that she would call them if she felt that she needed them in future.
Ellie had chosen happy...
Then, In November 2020, Ellie was sadly taken from us when she was hit by a car whilst out jogging. She suffered traumatic and un-survivable brain injuries and died three days later at Kings College Hospital London.
Losing Ellie left a huge gap in all of our lives, such a special daughter, sister, grandchild and friend to so many, taken from us so soon. But just as Ellie was positive and successful in changing her life, we wondered how her achievements could be shared with others to help them and leave a legacy in Ellie's name.
After some time, we began looking through some of Ellie’s things. As a creative young lady, she had left a variety of media which really expressed her journey. Paintings, poems, her journals and her social media posts too. It was so clear to see the journey that Ellie had taken and so we began to piece it all together.
We started to work closely with our local local healthcare services that had supported Ellie through her transformation. We agreed that we should use Ellie’s story to help other young people and hoped that by telling Ellie’s story in a style and format that is familiar to them, we would really resonate, give hope and show them that there is always a choice. And so we created a video - Ellie's Story, using Ellie’s own posts, pictures and journal inserts in the style of an Instagram & Snapchat type of story to get their attention. And so the campaign began.
We began to develop an online journal to be used as a tool by young people to help them in the same way that Ellie’s journals helped her too. Ellie’s best friend was on board to help make it look appealing to young people and to create a style that they would find familiar too.
The journal is available and already helping many young people in the local community. Schools have begun to introduce it to their students and are keen to use it as a mental health support tool going forward.
The journal concept soon developed and with the aid of funding we started to build a brand new app - better u. Our Youth Mental Health Ambassadors were key to this development and engineered the App to what is is today.
We hope that Ellie’s story will create an awareness of mental health support needs and will encourage schools to include regular discussions about mental health in their curriculum. We hope that by seeing a real life case, it will normalise mental health for those young people.
This campaign isn’t about Ellie’s tragic death. It’s about her very brave choice to really live.
We hope that Ellie’s story will help so many others. We hope that it may even save some lives.
Ellie chose happy, and so can you...