April – the cruellest month

POET TS Eliot’s masterpiece The Wasteland evokes the misery of human depression.Its opening line ‘April is the cruellest month’ is a literary reminder that suicide and depression rates are highest in the spring.

So to help raise awareness about mental health Grasmere Gingerbread® handed over a cheque for £1,310.50 to the Samaritans of West Cumbria.

“During my life I’ve suffered from horrible bouts of mental ill-health – including severe post-natal depression,” explained Joanne Hunter, co-owner of Grasmere Gingerbread®.

“I needed medical help but sometimes I simply needed someone to talk to, to work things out and process my feelings. This is where the Samaritans come into their own.”

Last December Grasmere Gingerbread® donated 25p from each Christmas mail order delivery to the charity.

It raised £655.25 and the 165-year-old business matched the amount to reach a total of £1,310.50.

“We are incredibly grateful to Grasmere Gingerbread® and their customers for this donation,” said Glynis Peacock, Branch Director of Samaritans of West Cumbria.

“It will help to fund our work and at the same time further raise awareness about mental health – a pressing issue in society.”

By way of example, more young men in the UK die from suicide than in road accidents.

“We want people who are suffering to open up, to talk to us before they get too ill to take positive action,” added Glynis.

Samaritans of West Cumbria has 28 listening volunteers.

The Grasmere Gingerbread® appeal at Christmas seemed appropriate as it can be a lonely time for many people, explained Joanne.

“Also, last year I wrote a very personal festive e-shot to our customers, explaining about some of the emotional struggles in my life,” she said.

“The response was incredible, dozens and dozens of people came back to say how they too had gone through mental turmoil at times in their lives.

“If this money can help the Samaritans to help just one person in difficulty it will have been worthwhile.”

Counterintuitively, April is understood to be ‘the cruellest month’ because after winter’s comforting blanket spring’s new life and colour can throw people’s ongoing depression into stark relief and force painful memories to surface.