Warning: This article is about suicide and may be distressing for some readers.

Hannah Norton was not quite 3 when her mother took her own life.

She was just 29.

Norton, now 31 and pregnant with her first child, knows her mother, Andrea Norton, had depression in her teens and was probably suffering from undiagnosed postnatal depression when she died.

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"Suicide is something that has affected me directly but it is not something I am an expert in," Norton said.

"I wanted to do something to help with mental wellness and loneliness because I know that is often a factor."

Hannah Norton as a baby with her mother, Andrea Norton. Photo / supplied
Hannah Norton as a baby with her mother, Andrea Norton. Photo / supplied

She has now started a charity to support new parents suffering from loneliness.

The idea for Nappkin was born when Norton was on Fujitsu Global Leaders' scholarship last year. The four-month scholarship encourages participants to create initiatives to improve lives.

During her research, Norton found that loneliness was something that especially affected new parents and the elderly community.

"I interviewed many Kiwi mums who had suffered from postnatal depression, and loneliness was something that came up over and over again.

"By the same token, loneliness is a huge problem in elderly communities too – and it's sad to think these two demographics can sometimes be at home on their own without vital connection and social interaction."

Norton has added incentive to help new parents as she and fiance Adam Thomson are expecting their first baby in August.

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She has just held a successful Nappkin event in her hometown of Mangawhai and has another planned in Mangere Bridge in June.

Andrea Norton suffered from depression in her teens and committed suicide at 29. Photo / supplied
Andrea Norton suffered from depression in her teens and committed suicide at 29. Photo / supplied

The event brings together new parents and the elderly for a meet-and-greet dinner.

The Mangawhai dinner was a success with offers of help from members of the elderly community to new parents needing help.

"A lot of the people who attended have family overseas so they don't have that support," Norton said.

"It's something that helps both groups."

Norton said she has very little memory of her mother and only found out what happened to her when she was 15 and her father, Malcolm Norton, considered her mature enough to understand and process the information.

"I know she was a nurse and was one of the kindest people. She was very sensitive and suffered from depression since she was a teenager."

Norton said her mother probably suffered postnatal depression but was undiagnosed.

There were times Norton battled with how her mother could leave her but now understands the effect of depression and mental illness.

The freelance writer and public relations consultant through her business, Hannah Norton Writes, wrote a letter to her mother when she was 29. The same age her mother was when she died.

Hannah Norton as a toddler with her mother, Andrea Norton. Photo / supplied
Hannah Norton as a toddler with her mother, Andrea Norton. Photo / supplied

In it she says:

"I forgive you. I love you and I am sorry that life took you so soon and that you couldn't beat the demons.

"They are in all of us. It's not a sign of weakness – some of our demons are stronger than others."

To find out more about Nappkin events visit: www.hannahnortonwrites.com

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:

• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (24/7)
NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (24/7)
SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.