Wife’s story inspires passionate fight against depression
A SINGLE teardrop is falling into cupped hands prepared to catch it at any time.
It was created in memory of the Adelaide businessman's beloved late wife Holly - who lost her battle with depression two years ago, when she was 42 - and is raising funds for Beyond Blue and awareness for those living with a mental health condition as three-million Australians currently experience anxiety and depression.
A devoted mother and talented florist, Holly hid her battle with clinical depression from all but those closest to her.
Diagnosed at 21, Holly met James in 2003 when their pets brought them together - her dog running across the road to befriend his. On their second date, spent talking until 3am, Holly shared her secret with James, telling him to "run away from me now".
But he had no intention of doing that. The couple married four years later and were blessed with two beautiful children.
Just as James had been unprepared for Holly's passing, the Hope Will Catch the Tears pendant caught him by surprise.
He was at Diamond Guild Australia's conference in Noosa a year ago when its members announced a new initiative, the Giving Back Program.
The plan was to create a limited-edition piece, 100 of which were to be made in Australia and sold in the 15 guild members' stores to raise awareness and funds for a national charity of James's choice.
"They said 'We want to do it in honour of Holly' and as you can imagine I was just sitting there in tears … I thought it was an amazing thing," he said.
"They asked me who I wanted the funds to go to and I chose Beyond Blue. When Holly passed away we asked for donations in lieu of flowers to Beyond Blue because they are an amazing organisation.
"Whether it's two o'clock in the morning or six o'clock at night, there is always someone there on the end of the phone to help and listen."
The Giving Back Program started with a call out to guild members for a design, resulting in 12 submissions. Selected by a panel of five, which included James, the Hope Will Catch the Tears pendant was the vision of Niki Jackson from Sydney's J. Farren-Price Jewellers.
"Niki absolutely nailed the brief with the supporting hands catching a tear and the rose gold as a symbol of hope and things to come in the future," James said.
It is crafted in 18ct white and rose gold with a pear-shaped diamond. It retails for $4950, with $2000 from every sale donated to Beyond Blue.
Three pendants have already been sold by James Thredgold Jeweller since they were unveiled a week ago, raising $6000 for Beyond Blue.
James says a promotion video, in which he tells Holly's story, had more than 13,500 views in four days and he hopes the video and the pendant will encourage an important national conversation.
"For me the quest is two-fold. It's to raise funds so there is a cure and to desensitise the stigma around having a mental health condition," he said. "We need to normalise the conversation around it so people don't feel like they need to hide it."
An ambassador for the Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation, James urges anyone suffering to seek assistance.
"Talk to someone and seek the appropriate help … there is a sympathetic ear out there that will actually understand," he said.
"If you can't get to somewhere for help, jump on the phone and talk to Beyond Blue or the mental health emergency hotline where there are doctors on the end of the phone who can suggest places to go.
"If you know someone suffering from a mental health condition give them unwavering 100 per cent support as long as it takes."
Asked what Holly might think about the pendant, James says he imagines she would be somewhat embarrassed.
"She was a very private person but she always wanted to be an advocate for depression being a sufferer so I think she would also be incredibly proud," he said.
If you or someone you know is in need help, call Lifeline on 131 114, visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp, or call beyondblue on 1300 224 636, or Mental Health Triage Service 131 465