Leeds live music event will support launch of mental health organisation

Sophia Theobald
Sophia Theobald

A live music event in Leeds is one of several fundraisers taking place to support the launch of a new mental health organisation.

Family and friends of Sophia Theobald are raising money to help people living with mental illnesses in the 27-year-old's memory.

Fia, as she was fondly known, was a striking model and aspiring mental health nurse, from Lupset, Wakefield, living with anxiety and depression.

In July last year, she became so overwhelmed by her illnesses that she took her own life.

Her mum Jaquie Hanson said: "Nothing can ever describe my devastation. My funny, vivacious, confident daughter was gone. My entire world collapsed.

“There will forever be a Sophia shaped hole in my life that nothing will fill. I don’t want another mother to have to go through this, another family to be ripped apart by something that can be avoided with the right care and treatment."

Fia's family and friends are starting The Fia Not Campaign, a Wakefield based community group with the aim of becoming a charity.

The group needs to raise £5,000 to get up and running and estimates it will then need a further £5k per year. It is holding a series of events to raise money.

On Saturday, June 2, a pay-as-you-feel live music event will take place from 8pm at Bad Apples in Leeds, featuring bands When the Wolf Comes Home, Nomasta and Full Reign.

The group is also planning an annual flagship fundraising festival 'Viva La Fia' which this year will take place at Warehouse 23 in Wakefield on October 6.

Ten singers and bands will take to the stage including Leeds groups Fielding and Victors.

Fia Not will help young people in crisis, giving them the support they need and signposting them to services. The organisation will also challenge issues in the current mental health support system and plans also include setting up a safe house for those struggling, a haven for them to turn to in times of need.

Family friend and campaign project manager Donna Hackleton said: “Fia was very special. This may seem like a very typical thing to say about a person who has passed away, but she really was, and it’s because of this we are striving to make a change for the better.

“Fia wanted to get better. She wanted to help others but by not receiving the help she needed, she couldn’t do it.

“If we can save just one other family from going through what we have then it makes her death a bit easier to bear.

“We will keep fighting for Fia. We have got to.”

The YEP is also calling on people across the city to help break down stigma surrounding mental health, as part of our #Speak-YourMind campaign.