Make city mental health aware

A charity is to launch campaign to make Leeds the most ‘mental health aware’ city in the north.

The national charity Rethink Mental Illness will launch a campaign in Leeds next month on March 11, urging people in the city to learn a few basic tips to help them support someone facing a mental health emergency.

The Mental Health SOS Campaign is being backed by Leeds writer Kay Mellor, who is encouraging people to be aware of other people’s potential problems.

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It is designed to arm people in Leeds with tips and practical advice on what they can do if faced with situations such as someone harming themselves or hearing voices.

Leeds-born scriptwriter, director and actress Kay Mellor OBE, best known for writing TV series such as Fat Friends, is backing the campaign. She said: “Most of us know what to do when someone falls ill or has an accident. But many people would find it difficult to know what to do when faced with a mental health emergency, such as a family member, friend or colleague having a panic attack, feeling suicidal or self-harming.

“People might not realise but there are actually things they can do to help during a mental health crisis. By arming yourself with just a few key facts, you could make a huge difference to someone’s life.”

Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “We want to teach people just a few basic steps to help them feel more confident in handling these kinds of situations. We don’t need everyone to become experts, but a little bit of.”

An advertising campaign will go on billboards as Rethink Mental Illness holds public events throughout March and April.

This includes a pop up ‘one stop shop’ in Leeds city centre on April 6 at Dortmund Square.

There will be copies of the guide available as well as information on mental health.

The charity supports 60,000 people in the UK going through crisis.