Co Antrim woman awarded by PM after founding mental health and suicide prevention charity
County Antrim woman, Carlee Letson, was recently recognised for her work in the local community when she received a Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award.
The Larne lady founded the charity – ELM - Every Life Matters following the loss of her brother, Arthur, who took his own life at the age of 34 in 2006.
Carlee decided to launch the charity to improve mental health services in the area, as well as train professionally as an intervention counsellor.
Since the charity’s inception in 2007, Carlee has helped over 3,000 thousand people, offering her support and listening ear, and helping to signpost individuals in need to further services, particularly during the pandemic, when she has supported hundreds of people with mental health issues.
In a personal letter to Carlee, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was incredibly sorry to hear about the tragic death of your brother, Arthur, and I am lost in admiration for the strength you have shown in setting up ‘Every Life Matters NI’.
“It is fantastic that you have helped over 3,000 people in the last fifteen years. Your 24/7 crisis support has been not just a helpline, but a lifeline, to many in East Antrim. Your help for others, tackling stigma around suicide and mental health difficulties, is a wonderful and lasting tribute to Arthur.”
Carlee said she was delighted:
“I am absolutely delighted that I could be recognised in such a manner as to receive an award from the Prime Minister. I see myself as just an ordinary person and volunteer trying to do a service and save lives in our community. Thank you so much for this amazing acknowledgment.”
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis commented:
“Since her own tragic loss, Carlee’s selfless dedication to improving mental health services for her community has brought hope to many in need of support in difficult times.
“The charity she founded has proven to be a beacon of support to thousands of people, and, as she continues with this amazing work, I congratulate her on being a very worthy recipient of the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award.”
Sammy Wilson, MP for East Antrim, also congratulated Carlee, saying:
“I wish to congratulate Carlee Letson on her award through the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Programme.
“I remember the first time Carlee spoke to me after the tragic suicide of her brother. She was devastated but was determined to remember him by doing something positive to prevent others who were stumbling down the dark road of despair from facing the same fate as her brother and causing the same despair their family have experienced.
“She fought hard for premises in Larne, assembled volunteers and has continued her dedicated service for nearly 15 years.
“This award is well deserved and I have no doubt that many lives have been saved by her vision and commitment and wish her all the best for the work she will continue in the future.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey invited Carlee for a special reception to mark her award. He said:
“It was a pleasure to host a reception for Carlee Letson who has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award.
“Carlee is a very worthy recipient of the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award and I wish her well as she continues with this amazing work.”