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Rider whose son’s father took his own life aims to support equestrian mental health

The mother of a four-year-old boy whose father took his own life is doing her best to raise awareness of, and money to help combat, mental health issues.

John Chew was 38 when he died, last autumn. Aimee Carson, the mother of his son Oliver, told H&H she wants to help anyone else who is suffering with similar issues.

Aimee is focusing on the equestrian world, selling hoodies with a horse-head logo, and the statement “It’s okay not to be okay. Don’t give up”, via her Instagram page. Sales will raise money for Mind, and Improving Lives, a Liverpool organisation that supports men’s mental health.

“It’s been such a terrible time,” Aimee said. “So I wanted to do something that would help other people, as I know that especially with Covid, so many people are struggling.”

Aimee said John had suffered with depression for some time, but she believes the lockdown had a significant effect on his mental health.

“John never rode but horses helped him a lot,” she said. “His cousin had horses, and I’ve got a horse, and he used to go to the stables and help out.

“He did go sometimes during lockdown but his mental health declined; I think he just lost all motivation to do anything.”

Aimee said that although of course all money raised for the charity through sales will be fantastic, she believes raising awareness is more important.

“I want people to know it’s ok not to be ok,” she said. “John didn’t get the help he needed but if we can get people to open up and talk about it, that would be something positive to come from such a tragic situation.”

Aimee has already had messages, and orders, from others suffering different mental health issues, which she hopes is just the start.

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“People could be smiling on the outside but they’re really hurting. If someone like that can say ‘I’m not ok’, that’s the start, but I don’t think mental health is talked about enough in the horse world.”

Aimee added: “This is so heartbreaking for Arthur. We talk about the stars a lot but especially at Christmas, he kept asking why Daddy wasn’t coming back; it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

“When John was ok, he did so much for other people, and I know he’d want something good to come from this,” she said. “I just want to reach as many people as possible.”

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