Hector’s sister Lotte Stringer was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after finding his body with their mum, Belinda.
Lotte has been very brave and has opened up about her experiences with mental health and her journey to recovery.
“As a family, we had gone through the worst thing possible. Losing Hector was absolutely devastating and a shock to us all. He was so vibrant, so full of life and love – the heartbreak consumed us. So we started Hector’s House in his memory to help prevent this from happening to another person struggling with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.
“As Hector’s big sister and close friend, I threw myself into the work to raise as much awareness as possible. I was also supporting my family and many of Hector’s friends during this horrendous, dark time.
“It wasn’t for a couple of years that I realised I wasn’t feeling good myself. Every time I saw a blue flashing light, I would be overwhelmed with panic and fear – because it put me right back to the morning I found Hector with our Mum after he had taken his own life. I couldn’t escape this feeling that everything was too much to cope with. I was exhausted and felt like I was living on edge.
“I knew that bottling up my feelings was the wrong thing to do. I thought of Hector and how much I wish he would have said something, anything to me about how he felt.
“So, I sought help from my GP and was referred to a therapist, and I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in July 2015. I underwent PTSD rewind therapy, which enables me to use coping methods and help me deal with what I have gone through.
“Nothing will bring Hector back, but I know that he wouldn’t want my grief to overwhelm my life.”
The Stringer family set up the Hector’s House aiming to end the stigma that surrounds mental health and encourage people to talk about how they are feeling, with the aim that no other family should have to go through what they have been through.
Lotte and her father Robert go into schools in the Hertfordshire area to give talks to young people about their experiences and how to prioritise mental health.
This Mental Health Awareness week (14-20 May), Hector’s House are encouraging people to talk about how they are feeling with their friends or family, and to seek help from their GP.
Lotte says; “There is no shame in admitting that you are having a tough time, or you are not able to cope. Sharing your problems or feelings, really does help and it means you’re not facing it all alone.”