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No5 Lead Young Ambassador, Carly, and Young Ambassador, Abbie, were invited to speak at Reading Voluntary Action’s ‘Lets Make Reading Friendlier’ conference in February!

Alongside No5 Outreach Coordinator, Hayley Chapman, they talked at the ‘Young People and loneliness’ workshop on the day, with Autism Berkshire. Their focus was on the loneliness of mental health stigma amongst young people. They also talked about steps towards challenging stigma and how we can all have a impact on changing  language and stereotypes around young mental health. Carly and Abbie said:

“We need to challenge the language surrounding mental health difficulties. We should be able to speak our mental health just as we would about our physical health. We need to acknowledge the difference between ‘mental health’ and ‘mental health difficulties’ because we all have ‘mental health’. 1 in 4 may have a mental health difficulty in any given year, but 4 in 4 have mental health all the time.

‘Ask, don’t assume’. Don’t assume that you need to treat someone struggling with their mental health any differently from anyone else. We don’t want you to tread on egg shells around us. We want you to be just as you would be with anyone else, because we just like anyone else!”.

The conference was Reading’s BIG event to explore ways to alleviate loneliness and social isolation in our communities.The focus of the event was on taking action to create change at both a personal and organisational level. It took place on 21st February at the Town Hall. You can find out more information here.