Mental health to be discussed at pioneering Leeds event

Tom Riordan, Chief executive of Leeds City Council.
Tom Riordan, Chief executive of Leeds City Council.
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Personal experiences with mental health issues will be shared at a pioneering event for business leaders in Leeds aimed at improving awareness and understanding.

The Leeds Leads: Healthy Minds for a Thriving City event will include speeches from former Downing Street press secretary Alistair Campbell and ex-Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle who have both battled with depression.

Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan who has been affected by mental health issues within his own family and is mental health champion for the council is also a speaker.

The event, on October 10, is being organised by Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) in partnership with the Yorkshire Evening Post and follows on from the launch of the charitable fund The Leeds Fund which this year is focusing on mental health.

The YEP will also soon be launching a new campaign which aims to get people talking about mental health issues to help eradicate the stigma surrounding them.

At the event business leaders will also have the opportunity to hear from Asda who are leading the way in tackling these types of challenges in the workplace.

The event is being supported by Standard Life, Asda and Depuy Synthes.

The thought- provoking and stimulating lecture will focus on how Leeds is affected by mental health, what is being done currently, and how everyone can get involved in order to heighten awareness, prevent, or learn to live with the issues and opportunities.

Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation, said: “Leeds Leads: Healthy Minds for a Thriving City is a call to action for businesses to ‘play your part’ in recognising, understanding and supporting mental health issues in the workplace and the city. Following on from the launch of The Leeds Fund earlier in the year, we have been inundated with applications which truly reflect the greatest need in the city and the challenges we face dealing with mental health, now and in the future.”

Tom Riordan said tackling mental health was a priority for Leeds City Council and the NHS.

He said: “Mental Health affects 1 in 4 of us at some point in our lives and has a significant impact on individuals and families, on businesses and on whether Leeds can achieve our ambition of being a compassionate city with a strong economy. As someone who has been affected all my life by mental health issues within my family, I am proud to be the council’s designated mental health champion, and I strongly believe that the more we speak out about our personal experiences of mental health, the easier it will be for people to overcome their own challenges.”

Aidan Butler, of Standard Life Wealth, said the event was truly one of the first discussions about mental health for business leaders in the city.

He said: “We are pleased to encourage these vital conversations to eradicate the stigma around mental health, so we develop an open and accepting culture in the workplace.”

The event is free to attend and will be at Asda MCE conference centre. For more information or to register, please visit: www.leedscf.org.uk/Leeds-Leads-2016