Mental Health Awareness Week: Harold Hill woman helped to heal by love of her dogs

18:00 18 May 2014

Hazel Gibbons with her two dogs Chelsea and Zach. She suffered with mental heaalth issues but with the help of her dogs and Havering Mind she has recovered

Hazel Gibbons with her two dogs Chelsea and Zach. She suffered with mental heaalth issues but with the help of her dogs and Havering Mind she has recovered


Everything seemed to going wrong for Hazel Gibbons until she was brought back from the brink – by the love of her two dogs.

The 45-year-old, of Redcar Road, Harold Hill, suffered from bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder after leaving her “extremely stressful” job in retail.

She said: “I was working 14 hours, seven days a week and the work was growing and growing and I couldn’t take all of the pressure, leading me to go to hospital.

“Once the people at work realised I wasn’t coping, they thought I shouldn’t be in the job so made me feel pressured to leave by piling on the jobs for me to do, making my life extremely stressful.”

Hazel felt her life spiralled out of control when she left her job of six years.

Hazel said: “I was so down after I left but it was ruining my life so I just couldn’t take it anymore.

“I would close my curtains and avoid leaving the house at all costs. It was horrible.”

So she decided to seek help by visiting a therapist who suggested that it could be a good idea to get a dog as it would help to bring Hazel out of her shell again.

She said: “One of my friends was getting a dog ­anyway so I went with her to a private owner in Chingford, not planning to buy a pet, but by the time I left I had bought myself a dog!”

It was from this point that Hazel’s life began to change as she started going out more, socialise with different people and slowly build up her confidence.

Hazel said: “Having a dog has improved my life so much, it gives me something to get up for and a reason to go out.

“If I went to the park before, no one would speak to me but when you’ve got dogs, everyone wants to stop and chat.

“My dogs have made my life worth living.”

Although her first dog had to be put down in 2009 as it suffered from severe epilepsy, Hazel now has Zack the chihuahua. and Chelsea, a Jack Russell and Dalmation cross, who won the Recorder’s cutest dog competition last year.

She added: “I think without my dogs, it could have led me to have another breakdown but it is thanks to them that I’ve been saved.

“I have good days and bad days but they have made everything so much better for me.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

8 minutes ago
Ryan Machin and his mother Michelle Bennett at their home in Romford after Ryan took the last British Airways flight back from Sharm el-Sheikh to London

A 17-year-old who worked in a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh was one of the last passengers to be repatriated to the UK and calls on people not to be afraid to return to the holiday resort.

A woman was tied up in a burglary

A mother-of-two feared for her life as masked burglars forced their way into the family home and tied her up while her young children played in the living room.

Two fire engines attended a house fire at an address in Park Lane, Hornchurch on Wednesday evening and a man was rushed to hopistal where he was treated for smoke inhalation

A man was rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after firefighters were called at a flat in Hornchurch on Wednesday evening.

Boys born in Cranham will live healthily for 17 years longer than those in Harold Hill

New statistics show the inequality in expectations for our children

Yesterday, 16:30
Last night's full council meeting saw decisions being made on the release of £83million to build new affordable homes and the expansion of at least five primary schools

Councillors have agreed to release £83million to provide affordable housing in the borough, expand at least five primary schools to ease the shortage of school places and pledged to ensure more work opportunities for adults with autism in last night’s full council meeting.

Yesterday, 14:27
Police were called at 12.58pm in the proximity of the Brewery shopping centre in Romford

Trains stopped going through Romford station after police reported a suspicious vehicle in proximity of The Brewery.

Yesterday, 07:00
File photo dated 28/09/15 of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is warning the Government's failure to invest in Britain's infrastructure is putting the future prosperity of the country at risk.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP is due to visit Havering on today to speak to young Labour members.

Yesterday, 07:00
Robert Knowles serving food platters and salt beef sandwiches at the TapRoom micropub in Upminster, which opened on Saturday

The borough’s first micropub finally opened on Saturday and welcomed its first customers with locally sourced pork pies, cheese platters and real ale.

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder