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Holly’s Pombombs: Bravery in the face of mental health Issues

Around million people are affected by mental health issues worldwide. Holly Pombombs’ story reminds people to care about mental issues.

The pompoms were made by Holly’s parents this year.

Holly’s Pombombs started in 2018.

The idea is that people make pompoms, hang them somewhere with a poster and people who come across the pompoms could also take a picture and post it on social media.

They put up woollen pompoms with a poster telling Holly’s story, in the hope that it might encourage people to see suicide in a new light.

“In July 2018 my younger sister Holly, 28, took her life a week after being diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants,” said Anna Cessford, the campaigner of ‘Holly’s Pombombs’.

Holly’s unexpected demise left Anna and her family to cope with their loss, shifting their attitude towards mental health issues. 

Holly and Anna were at a party.

Anna realised that she had had a very naive view of ‘the type of person’ that would commit suicide and thought that this opinion is probably shared by several others who don’t understand the seriousness of mental health issues. 

She felt that there is still so much fear and misunderstanding surrounding depression, suicide and mental illness in general and she wanted to do something that would get people talking about it more.

“Holly and I came from a creative family and enjoyed a lot of different crafts and we had made pompoms together.

“They are simple to make – anyone can do it, they remind me of Holly and they look so cheerful and bright which is how I would like to remember Holly,” said Anna, explaining her inspiration behind the campaign.

By using social media to share the picture and to spread the message, Holly’s Pombombs successfully promotes their purpose – which is to raise people’s awareness of mental health problems.

Holly’s pombombs in Roath Park.
People in Cardiff post the pictures on social media and share their experience.

Holly’s Pombombs’ is not only popular in the UK but also takes place in Singapore, Dubai and Malaysia.

It encourages families, friends and people with mental illness to share their mental problems bravely and work through it positively.

“I am really proud that we have started conversations about mental illness and suicide,” said Anna.

One grieving family decided to decorate their loved ones grave in a similar fashion after knowing the story about Holly and ‘Holly’s Pombombs’ to celebrate the birthday of another suicide victim. 

They were really happy to celebrate the day in a unique way and said it was a special way to remember him.

The pombombs of Holly’s grave in 2018.

Holly’s 30th birthday was on February 13th this year, where her friend decorated pompoms on a tree in Roath Park in her memory, reminding people to face the stigmas that surround mental health issues in a positive way.

Anna and her family said that they will do more focused activities throughout the year, particularly for days that focus on awareness on social issues, for example, there is a mental health awareness week in May.

“I think the most important way to promote positive mental health is to talk openly and honestly as much as possible, individually and as a country,” said Anna.

People saying they have a mental health problem GP patient survey, age 18+ (Data: Mental health statistics for England: prevalence, services and funding
: prevalence, services and funding )
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