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Eighties-themed party planned to honour Jess

A young woman who took her own life is to be remembered by former colleagues at a charity event to support people with mental health problems.

Jessica Gibbons was 25 when her 2016 death by suicide shocked colleagues at Red Steakhouse in Hamilton, which became The Terrace last year.

An Eighties party will be held in her memory at the Front Street venue next month after colleagues Debbie Kerr and Reanne Inglis vowed to raise money for people with mental health troubles.

Ms Gibbons worked at the Bermuda Bistro at the Beach before she joined Red Steakhouse and made her way up the hospitality ladder to assistant restaurant manager.

Ms Kerr worked with Ms Gibbons for about six years between the two establishments and said she was a “nice, fun girl”.

Ms Gibbons was found unconscious at her Devonshire home in April 2016 and was later pronounced dead.

She had enjoyed an after-work outing with colleagues the previous night.

Ms Kerr, The Terrace's head server, said: “We were with her just a few hours before. She just seemed her normal self.”

Staff gathered at Red after they were informed of Ms Gibbons's death.

Ms Inglis, the manager, said: “Everybody was really supportive of each other, it was nice that we were all together.

“I think it was difficult because none of us saw it coming. To know her, you didn't ever feel that side to her.

“It was difficult because it was completely unexpected.”

A plaque to honour Ms Gibbons was added to Red's bar area and six coworkers, including Ms Kerr and Ms Inglis, got tattoos to match the Bermuda triangle that was inked on her wrist.

The women said a charity event in their colleague's honour had been discussed for some time, but changes to the restaurant and its management meant a function had made it difficult to organise.

They added guests at the party on February 2 should wear 1980s-style outfits

The event will start at 9pm and feature DJ Felix.

There is no cover charge but the organisers said it was hoped people will dig deep to buy raffle tickets.

Prizes including brunch for two at The Loren's Pink Beach Club in Tucker's Town, a $300 gift certificate for Astwood Dickinson jewellers in Hamilton and a round of golf for four people at Belmont Hills Golf Club in Warwick.

Money raised will be donated to the Bermuda Mental Health Foundation, which will also benefit from a percentage of sales of selected drinks.

The colleagues hoped the event would also encourage more people to talk discuss their psychological welfare.

Ms Kerr said: “Mental health is one of these things that so many people suffer and don't talk about — it's like a stigma.”

Ms Inglis added: “I feel like a lot of people ignore it, it's not something a lot of people talk about, especially if they're suffering something like Jess was.”

Chris Gibbons, Ms Gibbons's father, said: “Our family is deeply touched that this event is being held in Jess's memory and that she is not forgotten.

“More important, we applaud their initiative to help raise awareness of mental health and to let people know that it's OK to not be OK and to ask for help.”

A BMHF spokeswoman thanked the event's organisers and explained the organisation provides education and awareness about mental health, as well as the importance of seeking support.

She said: “Over the past several years we, along with volunteers and community partners, have worked extremely hard to highlight the resources available in Bermuda as well as to break the stigma that plagues mental illness.

“We're fully committed to continuing our efforts and it is through initiatives like these that allow us to do so.”

Anyone who would like to donate additional prizes for the raffle should e-mail info@terracebermuda.com

If you need support or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help or call the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute's 24-hour hotline at 236-3770

Much loved: Jessica Gibbons

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Published January 24, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated January 24, 2019 at 8:44 am)

Eighties-themed party planned to honour Jess

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