Personal experiences with mental health were in the spotlight at a pioneering event - aimed at improving awareness and understanding - for business leaders in Leeds
The Leeds Leads: Healthy Minds for a Thriving City event last night included speeches from former Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell and ex-Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle, who have both battled with depression.
They shared their experiences with mental health in front of more than 100 city business leaders during the night, organised by the Leeds Community Foundation (LCF), in partnership with the Yorkshire Evening Post’s new #SpeakYourMind campaign to combat stigma surrounding the issue.
It also featured a key speech from Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan, who has been affected by mental health issues within his own family and is the council’s mental health champion.
Sally-Anne Greenfield, LCF chief executive, said: “I think one of the most important things is getting people to talk about mental health. It’s a hidden illness.
“Talking about it is important to take that stigma away.” Former footballer Clarke Carlisle suffered serious injuries after being involved in a collision with a lorry in 2014, which he later revealed was a suicide attempt. He shared his experiences at the event and his battle with depression to help raise awareness.
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Alastair Campbell had a breakdown in the 1980s and grappled with alcohol and depression.
He spoke about his experiences at the event last night and said combating stigma is vital.
Mr Campbell said: “Stigma and taboo directly affect the decisions of politicians not taking it seriously enough, spending decisions.
“By bringing it all out in the open, we can help break it down and we’ll end up giving people the kind of services that they need. “
The event follows on from the launch of the LCF’s charitable fund, The Leeds Fund, which this year is focusing on mental health.
It was supported by Standard Life, Asda and Depuy Synthes and held at the Asda MCE conference centre.
The YEP launched our new #SpeakYourMind campaign this week to get people talking about mental health issues.