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.
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.