We’re Recruiting!

Want a new, creative challenge?

Shout Out Leeds are currently recruiting new volunteers, writes Naomi Barrow, Shout Out Volunteer.

We’re a small bunch of committed volunteers who campaign to improve young people’s mental health in Leeds and surrounding areas. We’re very friendly and are excited to welcome new people to our supportive team.

In the past we’ve done a range of projects, including:

  • Going into schools encouraging young people to be open about their mental health
  • Creating a giant maze and an animation with Leeds Beckett art students
  • Challenging commissioners to put more money into young people’s mental health services
  • Sharing our own personal journeys with an audience at West Yorkshire Playhouse

We are heavily volunteer-lead and have a brilliant team behind us at Space2, who support us to develop as volunteers, mental health campaigners, and young people.

Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, some are in school, some are in university, some are at work and others are taking some time out to get their mental health back on track. Some volunteers live with their parents, others have moved out and have their own children, and one or two are still attempting working out this ‘adult’ thing. We come from all economic and cultural backgrounds which we love, because it makes our little team rich in different experiences.

One volunteer said: “Since joining Shout Out Leeds back in 2014, I have being part of trying to end the stigma [surrounding] mental health. Along the way I have met some great people and made some fantastic friends…”

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I’d love to volunteer but…’, please drop us an email or give us a call to talk through your thoughts, we can almost guarantee at least one of our volunteers will have felt similarly in the past!

If you’re reading this and it sounds right up your street – fantastic! Please drop us a line.

To contact us, ring Emma T at Space2 on: 0113 320 0159 ext 1, or email Emma T at: emmat@space2.org.uk  www.space2.org.uk

Featured: http://www.volition.org.uk/are-you-aged-14-25-passionate-about-young-peoples-mental-health/

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Shout Out Invades York!

On Sunday, Shout Out hit York (accompanied by two very lovely little ones). Two of our members have written their accounts of the day, below.

On Sunday 21st February 2016 as members of Shout Out Leeds, we went in to York for a friendly gathering and to take a visit around the site. While we were in York we met up with York2Naomi and she toured us round the best bits of York. This was our first main meeting of the year after our brief meeting with the group at the Youth Parliament meeting during early January. While we met yesterday, we found out about some amazing events and projects that we are going to be involved with, while continuing with our campaign in to 2016. After a fantastic and tiring day we caught the train back to Leeds. We have decided that we are going to have monthly meetings in Leeds to keep up with our projects and also how to get involved with new projects.
– Sam Worsnop

On Sunday 21st February members of ShoutOut came together for a blustery day out in York. This was my first outing with the group, one which I was very much looking forward to. After making the short journey to York, we set out to explore the remarkable city with history adorning its streets.

Not long after departing from the station we were met by one of the three York bridges. Our location provided the group with a picturesque view of the river, in spite of evidence of the damage caused by the flooding, in the form of a felled tree at the riverside.

We ventured deeper into York taking in the sights and even taking a picture with a life-size teddy bear along the way! Not long after we were enticed by the offer of free fudge by Fudge York1Kitchen where our taste buds were treated to sea salt and caramel fudge and chocolate orange fudge. The group continued its journey deeper into York, whereby we were met by an eccentric street entertainer who may have let slip a profanity or two! Regardless of his summoning of individuals from the audience to assist him (we managed to escape their fate- phew!) his show was a joy to watch, especially since it was clear how much he enjoyed entertaining audiences for a living. We continued exploring York, had a lovely meal at the Slug and Lettuce, where we were joined by Naomi who resides in York. Whilst dining we had discussions on issues such as; the dissolution of the Leeds and York Partnership, dates and times most convenient for group consultations and the introduction of minute taking of meetings for absent ShoutOut members. The trip ended with a brief visit to York Cathedral and a group selfie on another of York’s bridges.
– Jevanté

 

Mental Health Stigma

I’ve done a lot of work around mental health in the past few years. I sort of tripped and fell into volunteering with mental health charities back in 2012 and haven’t looked back since; I enjoy it and the people I work with are nothing but lovely.

We’ve been working on fighting stigma, education people, raising awareness etc. for a long time. As much as I’ve always participated and fully believed in the cause, I’m not sure I’ve always quite understood the battle we were fighting. In some ways, it’s felt like a battle that wasn’t really there.

Sure, I’ve seen mental health stigma and discrimination online. I’ve seen and heard people use mental health conditions as derogatory terms. I’ve seen people torment and abuse people with mental illnesses, openly, online. But I have never really had it smack me in the face – or seen much of it offline.

Today, we were asking people to fill in postcards with their ‘5-a-day for their mind’. The idea was to write 5 things on a postcards which cheered them up/made them happy, along with their address, and we would send these postcards to them in the winter months, so that when things got dark they had a pick me up.

It was fab! In total, we had over 100 conversations about a combination of mental health and mental illness, 100 postcards filled in and a lot of smoothies made (we had a smoothie bar with us). Considering there were only 4 of us running it all and only two of us doing the postcards, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

However, there were two instances during the day where parents heard the words ‘mental health’, took their children and literally pulled them away.

It makes me so sad because not only did the children not get to take part in the activity, but the parents, by doing that, teach their children that ‘mental health’ and all things associated with it are bad. What if that child grows up and has a rubbish day and feels low? What if they experiences anxiety around a stressful time in their life? What if they develop a fill blown mental illness? Will they be able to speak to their parents about it? Will their parents support them or help them?

I hope they will. I hope they won’t deny them support because ‘mental illness doesn’t happen in families like ours’ or some crap like that. I hope they won’t tell their child that their feelings aren’t real or they don’t exist. I hope they will help them.

If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, in fact whoever you are, if you’ve got this far – please don’t turn mental health, mental illness and all associated words into swearwords. Please don’t make them taboo. Please allow your loved ones to be honest and open about how they feel. You never know, one day it could save a life.

Written by Naomi, first published here.