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Campervan tour will help leave mental health legacy in Leeds

MindMate ambassador Gage Oxley
MindMate ambassador Gage Oxley

The wheels of a 1970s-style campervan will be put in motion to create a mental health legacy in Leeds.

The health body behind MindMate, a website providing mental health and wellbeing advice to young people in the city, is launching a camper tour to raise awareness of the resource, design a lasting feature to let people know it is available to them and encourage people to express how they are feeling.

Named ‘Dougal’, the vehicle, will visit Kirkstall Festival on Saturday, Asda Killingbeck on July 19 and Briggate on July 20.

Those that visit it will be able to help design a public bench to be installed in St John’s Shopping Centre to remind people about MindMate and talk to a team of ambassadors about the tools and resources on the website.

People can also use transfer palm tattoos of the MindMate smiley face and explore Snapchat filters and Instagram frames.

Gage Oxley, a MindMate Ambassador, said: “We’re really keen to keep raising the profile of MindMate in Leeds, especially among young males.

"The campervan is going to be a fun way of helping us chat to other young people, especially with the activities that are going to be taking place.

“The idea behind the temporary tattoos is to use the logo as a simple way for young people to show their support. We’re hoping that if people share photos of them wearing the tattoos it will help us spread the MindMate message even further. We’re looking forward to introducing Dougal to Leeds."

The MindMate website, developed by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, offers support, information and resources for young people, their families, carers and healthcare professionals.

It was created in partnership with young people, as part of the 'Future in Mind: Leeds strategy to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young adults.

Dr Jane Mischenko, Commissioning Lead for Children and Maternity Services at NHS Leeds CCG, said: “As well as raising awareness of MindMate in Leeds, we also want to create a

lasting legacy through these activities.

"The public bench is going to give us a lasting feature in the city that will always remind people that MindMate is available. And not just for young people, but parents and guardians too.

“One of our biggest challenges is that young people often don’t feel confident talking about how they’re feeling.

"With the campervan tour we want to show that it’s okay to express how you’re feeling and there are resources out there to help you get the support you need, no matter how big or small the problem may be.”

The YEP is encouraging people to talk openly about mental health as part of our #SpeakYourMind campaign, which launched in 2016.