A young Angus woman is on a mission to get young people talking about their feelings.
As part of the ‘Foolish Optimism’ roadshow touring Scotland following the release of the film of the same name, Leigh Addis from Arbroath met with a range of Angus charities and young people to discuss the topic of mental health.
Leigh, 26, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and anxiety, is a member of the Foolish Optimism working group.
She has lived with mental health problems most of her life.
After leaving Arbroath Academy eight years ago, Leigh’s mental health worsened during college and she has largely been unable to work.
However, she is keen to stress there is help available and talking to others can make a difference.
After watching the film, which was launched in Dundee, the group discussed the topics raised within it, the importance of mental health and how they would like to improve services.
The audience included representatives from local mental health charity Reach Across, service users and an occupational therapy student, with Leigh now hoping to run a similar event in local schools.
Following the event, which was held at Angus Carers Centre in Arbroath, Leigh said: “I wanted to provide a safe space where young people and local charities could watch and digest the film and talk openly about the issues facing them, what helps them and what they need.
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“It’s absolutely crucial young people especially, know they’re not alone and many others are going through the same thing and thinking similar thoughts.
“Since my diagnosis I have been working very hard to try and get my health back on track.
“I do a lot to help myself because the support systems are just not good enough and the waiting lists to see specialists are huge.
“I often feel like I’m going round in circles but that’s where friends and communication come into play. It’s very easy to hide away when you feel down so it’s crucial to have people around you who understand your bad days, and who you can relate to.”
Leigh attends Art Angel in Dundee, a mental health advocacy charity which uses creative writing, art and photography to help people struggling with their mental health to communicate and express themselves.
She continued: “Creativity can play a huge part in mental health, whether it’s making something, writing your feelings down or whatever distracts you and gives you focus on that particular day.”
Foolish Optimism was made possible by funding from the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund and Life Changes Trust.
For more information, and to watch the film, visit www.foolishoptimism.org
Please be aware the contents of the film may be distressing to some.
Themes covered include anxiety, depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts.