“I was introduced to IN:CHARGE through a friend. She works for Leeds City Council and she got an email telling her this course was starting. It was a new project run for people to learn and develop as a Mental Health Coach. I went to the open day and signed up there and then. Myself and Kal were two of the few who managed to complete the six-month course. It was a big commitment but we loved it. The course not only made us look at everybody else, to understand their mental health issues, without judging, but asked questions of ourselves. I realised that we’d all been through something.
For example, I had suffered a lot of stress and anxiety as part of my previous job. The course tutors were amazing and their knowledge was fantastic.
After finishing we wanted to use our skills. We wanted it to benefit others, the community. So we started a group called CHUMHI (Community Help Understanding Mental Health Issues). We were lucky that Touchstone wanted to back us. They saw what we were trying to do and knowing that they were so encouraging made us realise that we were doing something right.”
Touchstone provides a range of innovative services to improve the health and wellbeing of culturally diverse communities in our city. Their Leeds Fund Strategic Grant enabled them to provide an intensive 24 week mental health coaching programme called IN:CHARGE, specifically for Black, Minority and Ethnic individuals in East Leeds with lived experience of mental health issues. The project saw a number of individuals become fully trained mental health coaches for their communities, building their leadership and employability skills, and helping to reduce stigma and raise awareness among local people.
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