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Meet the teens behind messages of support appearing across Solihull

A mental health advocate who has spent long periods in psychiatric care is on a quest to help others suffering from suicidal thoughts.

Sarah Bannister, 19, is now on the mend but told BirminghamLive she “wouldn’t be here” without the support of family members, friends and teachers.

The Solihull teenager lives with a personality disorder and has “struggled” with her mental health for several years.

Read more: Solihull Covid ‘tree of reflection’ unveiled

To mark world suicide prevention day and suicide awareness month, she headed out with pals to display signs letting people know they were not alone.

She worked on the project with pals

Sarah, with help of friends Marie Senechal, Pip Rudge, Lucy Glover and Charlotte Evans, put the messages up at locations including Mell Square, Tudor Grange Academy and the M42 Junction 4 bridge.

“I’m really open about my mental health,” Sarah said. “Luckily I’m back home now. I just want to raise awareness as much as I can because so many people struggle and I know what it’s like”.

The student, who hopes to one day become a mental health nurse, said she had been sectioned numerous times after her mental health took a turn for the worst.

She has been in and out of city psychiatric units for the past two years, putting her studies at Tudor Grange on the backburner.

Messages were left at Solihull train station
Messages were left at Solihull train station

“I’m doing a lot better but it is an ongoing process,” Sarah explained. “It’s something I’ve had to learn to live with. I’m hoping to go back to college so things are on the right track.”

Now, Sarah says she will trek the Sahara desert in March 2022 to raise money for mental health charity MIND – she has already raised £7,736.

“Without my amazing family, friends and support network I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.

“I wanted to do something big to raise money but also to challenge myself.”

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