A Belfast mum has developed a range of weighted blankets to help herself and her daughter cope with their anxiety and mental health issues.

Carina Duke has suffered from OCD intrusive thoughts for most of her life and several years ago she started to realise that her daughter Kenza, 17, had acquired the same condition.

After seeking help through CBT and after having an adverse reaction to anti-depressants, Carina realised she needed to find an alternative therapy for them both.

An online search led her to discover weighted blankets and how they can help with anxiety and stress.

However, after investing in a couple which weren't quite right, Carina decided to go about developing her own weighted blanket which she believes is the best on the market.

She said: "My daughter suffered from the age of seven with OCD and anxiety and we had been through CBT several times, which does work for short-term.

"But it is something that she is basically going to have for life and it comes on with stressful situations. 

"So she would get flare-ups during exam time and obviously at the moment with the uncertainty of everything.

"I myself too have had mental health issues. I had tried anti-depressants and although they work for a lot of people, they had a really adverse affect on me so I started looking into more holistic ideas and therapies.

"Reiki and cold water therapy worked for both myself and Kenza and then I read an article on weighted blankets.

"After a bit of research, I decided to invest in one. They are expensive, the one I bought was £250, although when I got it it really helped me and so I decided to get one for Kenza and to go to a different supplier.

Serenity blanket helps keep Kenza calm while she is studying for exams

"The weight in one wasn't evenly distributed and the weight in the other was better distributed but the outer material wasn't good and I thought, 'I can develop a better weighted blanket' and that is how 'Serenity' was born."

And Carina is so passionate and sure about the quality of her blankets, she and her husband invested all of their savings into the business – even launching it in the midst of a global pandemic.

She said: "It is a family-run business and my husband and I invested a lot of our own money into it, as it is something we really believe in as it helps both myself and my daughter.