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Plan for “safe space” initiative for young people with mental health issues



By Nadeen Meeran

A PEER support network is being set up in Leeds for 16 to 21-year-olds with mental health issues.

The charitable company Health For All is setting up the group, which aims to create a physical space in which there is less stigma around mental health issues and a place where people can feel more relaxed.

It will allow people with mental health issues to meet new people as well as being supported by their peers and people who may be going through the same sort of problems they are.

Libby Tinworth, 28, young person’s development mentor at Health For All said: “The NHS is underfunded and it’s hard for doctors to give people the help they need due to it being so individualistic and each doctor will have a different opinion on it.”

The idea for the network came about after Libby had a conversation with Celine Bickerdike, 19, a business administrative apprentice who said she felt that people with mental health issues were “overlooked”.

Celine suffers from anxiety and felt that during her time during sixth form that school did not take her anxiety seriously. She said: “It’s easier for me to target this age range because I feel like I can relate to people my age more than someone who is older.

“At school I felt like there was nothing I could do and it really affected my grades because of all the stress and anxiety I was feeling surrounding school and the pressures of just life in general.

“I also felt that other people within my sixth form were apathetic towards me about it or not understanding in the slightest which made me feel even worse.”

Vicky Louise Riley is a 21-year-old barista with personality disorder who is planning to join the network when it gets up and running. She said: “There isn’t enough support for people with mental health issues because not many people are very understanding.

“It felt like my family couldn’t understand my disorder or why it affected me in such a way. It also makes my work life difficult because I have to take so many days off and I have already had a disciplinary for taking days off when it’s not life threatening.”

For more information about the network and when sessions are starting email

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