The ‘You are not alone’ mental health campaign designed by HeadStart Hull’s young volunteers is to be extended.
To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday 10 September the positive messages and poems via speakers to tackle the taboo of mental health will be placed on the Pier at Hull Marina.
The campaign will run until World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10 October. This follows on from the launch on 27 March when 12 speakers were installed to the west walkway of Humber Bridge to challenge the stigma associated with mental health and suicide, influencing decisions and raising awareness of help available to young people.
We know from feedback from young people as well as staff in schools that the campaign raised awareness of the issues and encouraged discussion on what is often a difficult topic for people to discuss.
The campaign also provided briefings and training for staff working with young people so that they were more confident in having these discussions and supporting young people who may have experienced suicidal thoughts or been affected by suicide in their family or friendship groups. The training was delivered by PAPRUS, the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.
PAPYRUS is encouraging other cities around the country to use this concept as a good model of practice.
Sarah Blackie, Head of Operations at Papyrus, said: “PAPYRUS was delighted to be invited to take part in this initiative. PAPYRUS was involved to read the submissions to ensure the language in the poetry was safe and appropriate, was involved in discussions with the local authority with regard to where the soundscapes would be played and delivered a talk about PAPYRUS, and the work of the charity. Helpful literature produced by PAPYRUS was also made available.
“This project was one of the most powerful initiatives we have seen and we were honoured to be working with and inspired by so many inspiring young people who have all struggled with their own thoughts of suicide or have been touched with suicide in other aspects of their life.”
Young people aged between 12 and 22 from across the city, some of whom have had their own personal struggles, developed the idea and identified the locations at which the speakers should be placed to help others.
Dagmara Podsiadlo, aged 22, said: “From personal experience, I know that I would have needed this if I ever felt low, depressed or had suicidal thoughts. Hearing these messages could save my life, not just in the moment, but inspire me to help myself by seeking aid from those around me and inspire me to help others as well; continuing the chain.”
Ryan Laybourne, aged 16, said: “It’s important that our message gets out there because it will be beneficial for young people who are suffering with mental health issues now, especially with all that happens on social media. It’s why we’ve made this campaign. #youarenotalone”
Benjamin Waudby, aged 18, said: “You Are Not Alone is critical for one reason: early prevention. A problem prevented early is a problem reduced. Speakers are a useful way of doing this, as they’re so easily transferable.”
Kaitlyn Robson, aged 16, said: “This campaign needs to happen as it informs young people about how and where to get help. It also helps reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide so that young people feel like they can talk about their issues which could potentially save lives. Having the soundscape on the pier is good as it is a busy place and will reach a lot of young people.”
HeadStart is an exciting five-year £56 million national programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund, from which Hull has secured £7.8 million. HeadStart Hull aims to Enable children and young people to have positive mental health and wellbeing, thrive in ‘their communities’ and to ‘bounce back’ from life’s challenges. This includes reducing stigma and enabling young people to access support when they need it.
Councillor Peter Clark, Portfolio Holder for Learning, Skills and Safeguarding Children, said: “Helping young people cope with today’s challenges is so important, especially at this time of year when they are starting a new academic year at school.
“The ‘You are not alone’ campaign aims to identify any problems they may have so they can address them at an early stage, in order to build their resilience and have good mental health enabling them to achieve their very best in school and in life.”
Gail Teasdale, HeadStart Programme Manager, said: “We received some really good and positive feedback regarding the launch of the ‘You are not alone’ and the impact of the inspirational messages on Humber Bridge.
“The young people are truly committed to this campaign and wanted to extend and develop the campaign further to support more young people when they may be finding things hard.
“We are continuing to deliver training to youth workers and in Hull schools to ensure they have the right skills and information to support them to support the city’s young people.
“In order to improve mental health and wellbeing we need to create a city that is not scared to talk about mental health and reassure children and young people that they are not alone.”
The speakers will also be installed in other significant locations and later in the year to spread the word and reassure young people that they are not alone.
To find out more about the services available and how to contact them, visit www.howareyoufeeling.org.uk and click on the ‘who can help’ section. This website has been designed in partnership with young people.
Here’s a link to the ‘You are not alone’ campaign video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEFmO-i6d1U