Mental Health Awareness Week: How NHS Leeds website helps young people

RESOURCE: Gage Oxley said MindMate is an effective resource for young people struggling with mental health issues in Leeds.
RESOURCE: Gage Oxley said MindMate is an effective resource for young people struggling with mental health issues in Leeds.
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It was first set up to offer support to young people struggling with mental health issues.

Three years after launching MindMate – the NHS-funded website dedicated to Leeds –continues to help youngsters and their families by providing a go-to place for information on all things mental health.

Today, as part of our #Speak-YourMind campaign, the YEP is looking at how the website has had a positive impact in the city, on the second day of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Gage Oxley, from Leeds, has grappled with mental health issues from being young.

Now 21, he said the resources available on the website have been invaluable in helping him deal with his own battles.

“It’s so tough talking about mental health when you are young, this resource is there to empower you and find the support around you,” he said.

“It’s a really positive thing to have in our city.

“Mental health makes you feel very lonely, but having that there, real-life people from your own area, is really effective.

“Everyone needs to know it’s out there.”

One of the barriers, Gage said, can be the way information about mental health is portrayed on clinical website, and the complicated clinical language that is often used.

“You can feel a bit put off sometimes by the language and design of some sites that are clinical,” he said.

“But MindMate is very 
trendy and that had a great effect on me when I was growing up.

“I felt like there were other people of a similar age going through the exact same thing.”

MindMate was developed by NHS Leeds CCG as part of the ‘Future in Mind: Leeds’ strategy, to improve the mental health of children and young people across the city.

After waiting for several months following his own struggles as a teenager, Gage started cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses.

Five years later, he now uses MindMate in between his CBT sessions, which has helped him open up to his parents about mental health.

He added: “Over the last few years, my mental health has varied.

“But MindMate has always been there – it’s really useful. “

Visit www.mindmate.org.uk for help or advice about mental health.

CREATING MOVIE WAS THERAPUTIC

In 2015 while he was just 18 years old, Gage produced a self-funded feature film in an effort to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

His Beneath the Shadows movie, which was backed by MindMate, follows a teenager girl in Leeds struggling with mental health and exams.

“I decided to make a feature film about mental health, which was a therapeutic way of talking about it for me,” he said.

“I reached out to MindMate and they supported the film.

“It was therapeutic hearing feedback, and having other people watch it and say they feel the same. It gives people a platform to talk about things.”

Visit www.oxygenfilms.co.uk for details about the film.

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