St Helens puts spotlight on mental health

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Do you feel heard? Pic © Scarlett O’Toole, JMU Journalism

St Helens residents came together over the weekend to talk about how mental health can be better addressed in the town.

This comes after figures released by the Office for National Statistics found St Helens to have the fifth highest suicide rate in the country.

Heart of Glass, a Merseyside-based social arts agency, organised the session ‘How Can We Do This Better’ as part of their mental health festival, Madlove. The event took place last Friday.

Artist and mental health activist, ‘The Vacuum Cleaner’ James Leadbitter, led the session.

He told JMU Journalism: “It’s just the beginning. If St Helens is like a huge piece of marble and we are all of the sculptors, we’ve only just tapped in.

“Let’s see how it goes and how we can sustain this momentum.”

YouTube: Heart of Glass

The event took place at the former Argos store in the Hardshaw Centre, after commercial property and investment company LCP donated the space to Heart of Glass.

Those who attended were divided into four groups to discuss their own experiences of mental health. The groups then came together to talk about how to address the stigma surrounding mental illness and how to improve upon services for those who need them.

Mr Leadbitter told JMU Journalism: “A lot of people were saying we need to get people in power in the room and involved moving forward. Maybe they will now see each other on the street and say hello to each other.”

About Scarlett O'Toole, JMU Journalism