Angela Stone

Mental illness is something very close to Angela Stone’s heart – so close it’s become the driving force behind her decision to support the Mental Health Foundation.

The fashion designer, model, life stylist, mother-of-three and author is best known for her role on the reality TV series The Real Housewives of Auckland.

But life hasn’t always been glamourous for the 44-year-old. She’s recently taken the courageous step of opening up publicly about her family’s mental health issues.

When Angela was young, her mother Jill had depression and was unable to look after her and twin brother Carl. They were taken out of her care when they were two years old. Jill and Angela’s father, Murray, had already separated.

Angela and her brother were raised by their paternal grandmother in Christchurch, but had regular contact with their mother and father. Angela’s mother took her own life in 2003.

“My grandmother was my saving grace. She would always tell me, ‘Everything’s going to be OK’,” Angela says.

Angela hasn’t had contact with her brother for several years, despite wanting to. He’s in contact with an uncle, so she knows he’s still alive.

“When mum died, everything changed. He was really close to her. Losing somebody like that can leave a real lasting effect on somebody,” Angela says.

Proceeds from book sales to go to MHF

She has always admired the work the MHF does and wants to help raise money and awareness for the charitable trust. She says she’s reached a place in her life where she’s ready to give back.

“I have this fabulous opportunity to reach out and say, ‘What can I do to help’? I’ve been waiting to raise my profile to be able to help promote the MHF. They provide fantastic support and resources for people, and the families of people who are experiencing mental health challenges. It’s really important for people to know where to go if they need help.”

Angela has just released her second book Being Real – a self-help book written to inspire people to find their true selves. She says proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the MHF.

Don’t suffer in silence

She says it’s important to talk about mental health and to reach out for help.

“I think a lot of people are suffering in silence and I know myself that when my mum took her own life, I needed to reach out for help and work through it. When you’ve had to do that yourself, it’s time to encourage people to do the same.

“It’s extremely important to be able to reach out for support and to know there’s a community or organisation like the MHF waiting to support you. You can get through tough times.”

Read about Suicide bereavement