On the 25th of October, Central Bedfordshire Youth Parliament and Youth Central came together to raise awareness and money for mental health.
The event was held at Priory House to break the stigma around mental health where there were fun activities such as ‘guess the weight of the cake’ and ‘guess how many balloons are in the car’ alongside a cake sale to raise money. Furthermore, many people decided to partake in writing a pledge to do with mental health and wellbeing to help make a difference within the community. In addition to this, gift bags containing things that Youth Voice felt were useful in dealing with mental health issues were handed to all members of staff that were present.
The idea behind this was to emphasise that people should not feel alone when it comes to dealing with mental health, no matter your age or circumstance. The campaign also set out to show that mental illnesses should not be thought of as something to be ashamed of or something to push aside. The event itself was set to run from 10:30am – 2:00pm but, due to the ever-growing interest in the cause, the sale lasted until around 4:00pm, resulting in a huge turnout.
It is of great pleasure to announce that the event seemed to have made a huge impact on everybody, both those involved in making the event happen and those who donated. The support for the charity (Busy getting stronger) gained from the cake sale alone was immense, to which the forum is ever grateful for.
The charity itself is based in Central Bedfordshire and is determined to have a positive approach to mental health and improving their services. In addition to this, Ben Salmons, who works with the NHS on the ‘Break the Stigma’ campaign, worked in conjunction with Youth Voice and the charity to help raise awareness of both the charity’s importance and the importance of his campaign.
Throughout the event, volunteers and staff offered their time to talk about the things that are otherwise unspoken of, emphasising the need for campaigns such as these whilst demonstrating the positive effects of speaking out about the issues surrounding breaking the stigma.
The generosity witnessed was astounding as it could not have been foreseen, especially from staff and local businesses such as Poundland, Mc’Colls, Sandy Greetings, Co-op, Tesco, Sainsburys, Lloyds Pharmacy, Surfin’ Café and Wilkinsons, all of which made donations to the cause by offering supplies, purchasing cakes, taking part in games, writing a pledge or simply donating money. In addition to this, members of Youth Voice were also generous in the respect that they gave their time to helping such a good cause to raise money and awareness.
All donations made will go towards making the forum’s vision a reality in the sense that all young people and families in the local community will have the information and guidance necessary for positive mental health and wellbeing with access to a friendlier approach. This will then improve the general way in which people think about mental health and wellbeing, which will eventually break the stigma once and for all.