Mental health blogger, TV producer & media trainer.
Sonia Beldom is the creator of soniasmum.com, a mental health blog based on the hilarious and often heart-breaking stories of the rollercoaster relationship she had with her mum who was diagnosed with six mental health conditions at 80 years old. She is also a writer, an ideas generator for television and an expert trainer in presentation and public speaking skills.
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Jeremy Vine is a massive fan of soniasmum.com which has over 13K subscribers. He invited Sonia onto his BBC Radio 2 show to talk about living with a mother with mental illness. Jeremy highlighted the issues surrounding the many women in the 60s and 70s who went undiagnosed and unsupported, owing to the stigma attached to mental health. When Sonia came off air she was inundated with people laughing and crying at her stories. They wanted to share their own experiences and her website nearly crashed with close to half a million hits. She has been interviewed by Maxine Mawhinney for “The Moment” and often co-hosts a family relationship show on Radio Las Vegas.
Sonia is a media volunteer for MIND and soniasmum is soon to become a book. She is passionate about discussing what it is like for young carers who have to deal with mentally ill parents. And how important it is to recognise and support people who are dealing day-to-day with family, friends or colleagues suffering from mental health. Sonia knows first hand how hard it is to deal with your own mental health issues when those around you appear to be suffering more.
Sonia’s mum, Margaret, was arrested and sectioned in 2010. Finally Sonia learned that her mum had been suffering from 6 conditions, ranging from frontal lobe dementia to bi-polar and borderline personality disorder. Sonia and her mum had one transformational conversation, which changed both of their lives. Sonia was able to thank her for the wonderful job she’d done in bringing her up, despite her illnesses. Sonia attributes her original, creative thinking skills to her mum.
“She made me brave gave me an eternal curiosity about the world. She was a free spirit who didn’t give a damn what people thought about her and her crazy ideas. I’ve channeled that thinking when devising TV ideas. My mum also made me very good at dealing with complex personalities, including radio and TV presenters and celebrities.”
Sonia loved being part of the team to bring “An Idiot Abroad” to SKY 1, devising Victoria Wood’s “Victoria’s Empire” for BBC1, “The Hairy Bikers Great Mississippi Adventure” and Trevor Nelson’s “Panic Mechanics” for BBC2. She’s recently cast many network series and has run TV development teams for BBC Entertainment, Tiger Aspect, Mentorn and ITN Factual. She now runs creative workshops for BBC Studios, Endemol and Shine.
In her spare she Sonia drives classic red routemaster buses through London, plays in a piano duo with her husband Tony Clout and is a media trainer for CEOs, creative companies and VIPs wanting to improve their public speaking.