#SpeakYourMind: New Champions’ Fund launched to combat mental health stigma in city

Jess Tregidden pictured with Space2s specially commissioned, embroidered mental health chair and Paul Barker, Space2s Mental Health Project Manager. 14th November 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Jess Tregidden pictured with Space2s specially commissioned, embroidered mental health chair and Paul Barker, Space2s Mental Health Project Manager. 14th November 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
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A new fund has been launched in Leeds to help combat the stigma surrounding mental health.

The Champions’ Fund is now offering grants of £500 to adults with experience of mental health issues who are living or working in the city.

It is being managed by not-for-profit organisation Space2, on behalf of Time to Change Leeds hub, a partnership that aims to break down mental health stigma.

The grants can be used to run an event in the community to help drive conversation about mental health.

The fund comes after the YEP last month launched a new focus for our #SpeakYourMind campaign, and we are now calling on people across the city to help make Leeds mentally healthy.

Jess Tregidden, from Leeds, is among those who have experienced mental health issues that are hoping to benefit from the fund.

The 25-year-old battled depression as a teenager - but now volunteers with the Time to Change campaign to help others. If successful, she would use the grant to run an interactive poetry event.

“People don’t always understand what you are going through,” she told the YEP.

“I lost a lot of friends when I told them about my depression and that really had a knock-on effect on my confidence and self-esteem.”

After four years of struggling and taking medication, Jess underwent intensive counselling and now says she has a better understanding of what was triggering her negative feelings.

She has since returned to college to train as a counsellor herself.

“Having lived through it you’re in a better position to help others,” she said.

“If you are faced with someone with a mental illness it’s about listening and being non-judgemental – try and just accept them for who they are.”

From coffee mornings to craft activities, the fund is now offering grants to people who have lived with mental health issues and are organising events to encourage others to talk about it.

A total of £5,000 is up for grabs in the first round of the fund.

Applications are open to people over 18 until November 30.

To apply visit www.leeds.gov.uk/phrc/Pages/Time-to-Change-Leeds-Hub.aspx or for more details email paulb@space2.org.uk

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