To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (9 – 15 May 2022), mental health support charity Stop.Breathe.Think hosted an evening of mental wellbeing activities on Wednesday 11 May, at the HideOut Youth Zone, Manchester.
The evening was supported by AJ Bell, the Salford-based investment platform and long-term partners of Stop.Breathe.Think following a £60,000 donation made earlier this year, in order to raise awareness of the charity’s service amongst young people in the North West.
The event saw over 100 young people in attendance from across Greater Manchester – some of whom travelled from neighbouring youth zones within the Onside Network.
The evening started with introductions from Dan Charlish, Director at Switch 180, the charity that originally created Stop.Breathe.Think: Danni Hewson from AJ Bell; and Joe Amos, Head of Youth Work at HideOut Youth Zone. Attendees were then invited to take part in various activities including a ‘worry-free’ zone with access to a professional counsellor for 1-2-1 questions and concerns; a ‘mood smoothie’ making area where young people chose ingredients to represent how they were feeling; and an area where graffiti artist Wilf, with assistance from willing attendees, created a masterpiece live at the event based on the theme of ‘positive mental wellbeing’.
Also in attendance on the evening were first team Sale Sharks players Sam Hill and Leah Lyons, who put together a short training session for attendees to take part in some physical activity. This helped showcase the importance of looking after your physical and mental health, and how the two can influence each other.
Attendees posed some great questions to the local athletes, gaining insight into what it’s like to be a professional athlete, and how the team works together to look out for one another, both on and off the pitch.
As they left, attendees were given ‘little bags of wellbeing’ to take home with them, as a reminder that whatever you are facing, whatever you are worried about, Stop.Breathe.Think is here to help.
Initially set up by charity Switch180 in November 2020, in response to the pandemic, Stop.Breathe.Think offers vital support to young people aged 21 or under across the UK, allowing them to access free and confidential mental health support. Following an initial consultation, a young person is able to access weekly 1-2-1 counselling with a mental health professional, with no wait times.
For anybody struggling in-between their counselling sessions, they can access Stop.Breathe.Think’s wellbeing drop-in, which is available 9am – 9pm every day.
A young person can self-refer, or can be referred by a parent, guardian or professional such as a teacher or youth worker.
For more information, or to request support, visit: stopbreathethink.org.uk
Danni Hewson from AJ Bell comments:
“One of the most negative legacies from the Covid pandemic has been the detrimental impact it has had on people’s mental health and young people have often been the most affected. Stop.Breathe.Think plays a vital role in giving young people access to free and confidential mental health support and we are proud to be supporting its development in the North West. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout to mark Mental Health Awareness week and showcase the support on offer from this wonderful charity.”
Dan Charlish from Switch180 comments:
“It was a fantastic evening at Hideout Youth Zone, and alongside all the fun activities, it was a great opportunity to talk to all the young people attending about the importance of looking after their mental health. We were so pleased to have received such a positive response to the Stop.Breathe.Think service, from young people and youth workers alike, and we hope many young people will benefit over months and years to come. Huge thanks to AJ Bell for their support in bringing this essential programme to the North West.”
Speaking at the event, HideOut’s Head of Youth Work, Joe Amos said:
“This collaborative event embodies our mission at HideOut: to support all young people by providing three things which all young people need and deserve – somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. We want to thank ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’ for their service and for showing young people that help is always available to them.
“When young people come to HideOut, the whole idea – the activities, the things that we do here, the youth work, the people you speak to – it’s all about improving your mental health and wellbeing. It’s time to tackle this mental health crisis and work together to support young people’s futures”.