The tragic death of a 17-year-old "creative" girl from Durham inspires mental health funding

The tragic death of a 17-year-old “creative” girl from Durham inspires mental health funding


The family seeks money for Mind in memory of a “creative, funny, kind and caring” teenager from Durham, who died at just 17 years old.

Aylish Stewart died on March 8 this year. She suffered from mental health problems, including anxiety, and her family claimed to have taken her own life.

On Friday, some of Aylish’s family and friends gathered at Wharton Park in Durham to take a 32-mile walk to Newcastle’s Quayside and back. Pedestrians have raised money for the Mind Mental Health Charity in hopes of helping others who are facing some of the problems that have plagued Aylish.

Read more: The family of a Durham boy with a mental age of one year raises funds to vacation at home

It is an effort that, according to them, a “caring” teenager who in her spare time raised money for cancer charities would be proud of. Creative and artistic Aylish was adored by her brothers, her twin Michael and her older brother Jordan (24) and was a devoted aunt to her nephew Riley (6).

Julie Pomfrey, 41, said: “Aylish was creative, fun, kind and caring – she was wonderful. She spent a lot of time in her room creating her artwork, loved animals and was just with us, her family.



Aylish loved animals, says her family

“Art was her comfort, her safe space. There are works of art from her all over the house, she has imprinted her seal on everything.”

The teenager, who lived with ADHD and autism, which often exacerbated her anxiety, was a student at Trinity School in Durham. Despite her mental troubles, loved ones will remember Aylish as funny and full of mischief.



Some examples of Aylish Stewart's stunning artwork
Some examples of Aylish Stewart’s stunning artwork

“Once she smuggled her rabbit to school in a backpack – he got past me, got past a taxi driver and they didn’t notice it until her backpack started twisting at school,” Julie said.

“She was so, very mischievous, still looking for mischief.”

Donations are collected for Mind in memory of Alyish at https://www.justgiving.com/remember/968982/Aylish%20-Pomfrey

If this article has touched you and you want to talk to someone, there are helplines and support groups, many of them 24/7.

The NHS Choices website lists the following helplines and support networks that people can talk to.

  • Samaritans (116,123 in the United Kingdom and Ireland) runs a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write how you feel or are afraid that someone will overhear you, you can send an email to Samaritans to jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) operates a helpline for children and young people in the United Kingdom. Calls are free and the number will not appear in your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organization supporting teenagers and young adults who feel suicidal.
  • Mind (0300 123 3393) is a UK-based charity that provides advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression is a site for students who are depressed, in a bad mood or have suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for children and adults affected by bullying.
  • If U Care Share is a northeastern charity focused on suicide awareness and prevention free and confidential text support service, which is available by sending an SMS to IUCS 85258.

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