“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Platform 1.”

The heartbreaking words of mum-of-two Anne Marie who has bravely spoken out in support of the mental health charity which is facing a financial crisis.

Its patron is TV broadcaster Eamonn Holmes who is hosting An Evening With Eamonn Holmes at Huddersfield Town Hall on Friday, October 27 to raise vital funds.

Platform 1 – based in Huddersfield but covering Kirklees – provides mental health counselling and support for people facing a crisis and turns no-one away.

Anne Marie, who lives near Huddersfield town centre, was referred to Platform 1 by her GP when she was facing a crisis and other mental health services were unable to see her.

That was two years ago … and she continues to go to Platform 1 every week as the support they give her is so vital.

Anne Marie said: “I was going through a very bad time in my life two years ago. I’m a survivor of childhood trauma and domestic abuse in the past and then I encountered workplace bullying which put me in a very dark place and I didn’t know where to turn for help. I’m a strong woman but even my family didn’t know how to help me.

“The bullying had triggered all the emotions from the past, so much so I felt I was losing my mind and control. It felt like I was broken inside, reliving moments from my past that were frightening me.

“Platform 1 explained they were flashbacks and gave me coping strategies. To the outside world I always have a smile on my face but once I was within my own four walls I was suffering from thoughts that were very intrusive.”

Anne Marie was then involved in a court case in Leeds and Platform 1 supported her all the way through it.

“I’d lost a lot of money and was in fear of losing my home,” said Anne Marie. “But Platform 1 sorted me out by helping me to access the benefits system. Doing it was a nightmare and I simply couldn’t have sorted it myself.

“I know I can call Platform 1 at any time. Once, when I was back in a very dark place, I phoned them and they told me to come down straight away and they put me back on course. If I didn’t have Platform 1 I wouldn’t be here today, it’s as simple as that. I’ve started to heal from a horrendous time I’ve been through.”

Anne Marie is now doing a training course so she can help other survivors of domestic abuse.

Platform 1 chief executive Gez Walsh (above) said: “Platform 1 has changed drastically over the years from being a drop-in centre to one providing a vital frontline clinical service for people in mental health crisis or needing ongoing support.

“We deal with people who have attempted suicide and never turn anyone who is in crisis away. A lot tell us we are their last hope.”

Local mental health services, GPs and the police all refer people to Platform 1 and the charity now even provides a service in schools.

“Demand for our service has increased by 40% so we simply need more money to survive,” said Gez. “We need to employ more qualified staff and they require a wage to live on. We need to expand but simply don’t have the money to do so. Anyone who runs a charity will tell you that it’s a hand-to-mouth existence these days.”

Eamonn is doing the show voluntarily to try to help the charity and doing An Evening With format is a first for him.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Eamonn. “The first half will be me talking about my life – and there have been some tough and challenging times in it – but I’ll throw in humour too with Gez sitting opposite asking the questions. I’ll also be talking about what I’ve seen in terms of mental health.

“In a sense, I’ll be in the psychiatrist’s chair watched by the public. I’m an open book and I’ve been through an awful lot in my life but don’t mind talking about it.”

Gez said: “It will be a very informative and very funny night. Eamonn is a great entertainer. Please just come and join us. It costs £25 a ticket and I know that may sound a lot but we are providing a service here that can make the difference between life and death so every penny really does count.

“If we have a successful night it will guarantee our doors remain open until at least next February.”

To buy tickets go to https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/town-halls/book-tickets.aspx, click on the box for October events and then scroll down to the show. The show is at 7.30pm on Friday, October 27.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.