Every year on 10 October, World Mental Health Day (WMHD) raises awareness of mental wellbeing across the UK and the rest of the world. This year’s theme is ‘Mental health in an unequal world’. Health inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health between different groups of people in society. This WMHD we want to highlight and celebrate what’s happening in Leeds to tackle inequalities including those relating to socio-economic status, race, gender, disability and sexual orientation. 

Ways to get involved in Leeds 

MindWell, the mental health website for people in Leeds, will promote what’s going on in the city for WMHD. They have also launched 3 new great resources supporting the 3 themes of the Kinder Leeds festival and the values of Anti-stigma Leeds.

The resources are free to use, print or share online:

Twitter @MindWellLeeds 

We believe that being kinder to ourselves and others can help reduce stigma, build stronger communities and reduce social barriers. It also supports everyone’s wellbeing.

Kinder Leeds Festival, Sunday 10 October to Sunday 16 October. Leeds festival of kindness, compassion and wellbeing launches on World Mental Health day. Join in a week of live and online events including inspiring talks, walks, mindfulness and self-nurturing. Come and visit the MindWell stall at the Kindness Exchange event on 12 October at Leeds Civic Hall. 

Big Leeds Chat presents: ‘Staying Healthy in Leeds’ Digital Event, Thursday 7 October.  Come join in for some fun, informative and helpful online activities, try out something new and chat about what matters to you. There will be activities for you to get involved with under the themes of mental health, physical exercise, and the arts – all for free.

Mental Health in an Unequal World: COVID-19’s Impact, Friday 8 October 2021, 11am to 12 midday. Join Public Health, Leeds City Council, for a webinar exploring what mental health looks like in different countries across the world. This webinar is suitable for professionals working within health, social care or third sector, or anyone who wants to know more about mental health in society today.

Tackling Health Inequalities in Leeds – Healthy Communities Together, Monday 11 October, 10am to 11.30am. A friendly session led by MESMAC Yorkshire, Leeds Asylum Seeker Support Network, Basis Yorkshire and Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange. You will have a chance to explore how we might tackle health inequalities in Leeds, considering what you can do in your practice, and importantly what we can do together.

Black History Month events in Leeds will be running throughout October. Check out Leeds Inspired for a page of events. University of Leeds have also collated a varied, brilliant catalogue of events. The national organisation for BHM has launched ‘Proud To Be’ as part of this year’s campaign to encourage Black and Brown people to share what they are proud to be and recognise the incredible richness of Black and Brown heritage in the UK. 

LeedsNoPlaceForHate Conference, Monday 11 October, 9.30am to 4pm, St George Centre. This conference is hosted by United Response, in partnership with Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police, to mark National Hate Crime Awareness week. This face-to-face event welcomes anyone working in Leeds to reduce hate crime.

Leeds Mindfulness Cooperative is offering a free 8 week mindfulness course for third sector staff, particularly those working in mental health support within minority ethnic communities. On the course you will learn about how mindfulness can help you manage stress and improve wellbeing. Learn a range of compassionate body and breath-based meditations. Explore your thinking habits, learn to develop more kindness towards yourself and connect with others in a well-supported kindly space. Email [email protected]

Mafwa Theatre run ‘Kuluhenna Drama’, weekly creative workshops for women from refugee, asylum seeker and wider Leeds communities in Lincoln Green. Kuluhenna Drama aims to bring people together, improve mental health and wellbeing, create resilient communities and tackle social isolation. Sessions provide a safe space for women to learn new skills, meet new friends and get creative. Workshops are free and run every Friday, 3 to 4.30pm, at Patrick Studios, LS9 7EH. A creche is available. 

How Leeds is tackling health inequalities

Our third sector members work tirelessly across Leeds to reduce inequalities – we have chosen just a few to spotlight for WMHD:

Asha Neighbourhood Centre helps women improve and maintain good standards of health and to make informed choices on matters concerning their own and their families’ health. They try to ensure that women’s voices are heard and understood by decision makers so that they have greater influence in their care. 

BHA Skyline aims to challenge and address health and social care inequalities and to support individuals, families and communities to improve their health and wellbeing.

Black Health Initiative works in partnership with many bodies and organisations to supply equality of access to education, health and social care provision. They seek equality for all, working for and with men, women, teenagers, seniors and the community, including a free and confidential counselling service, group work, peer mentoring and community initiatives including the Legacy Awards and the Black Music Festival

Calm & Centred is a key organisation in the delivery of wellbeing services; healing therapies and self-help strategies, in and around the local community in Chapeltown, focused on addressing health inequalities.

CHANGE is a human rights organisation led by Disabled People, working to build an inclusive society where people with learning disabilities are treated equally. 

Dosti offers individual and group support to meet the diverse needs of Asian women. Staff speak various Asian languages and have expertise in mental health. Dosti offers culturally appropriate activities promoting a programme of mental health recovery. Dosti is a safe and confidential support service improving women’s mental health in Leeds.

Feel Good Factor (FGF) supports people to improve their health and wellbeing. Based in Chapeltown, FGF works with communities all across Leeds providing activities, projects and services to improve access to health opportunities for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Gendered Intelligence is a registered charity that exists to increase understanding of gender diversity and improve trans people’s quality of life. 

Guiding Light Leads aims to address the institutionalised inequalities in schools, in the workplace and in the penal system and its negative effects on African and African-Caribbean people. 

HOPE Bereavement was founded by Ansa Ahmed in 2013, who had a vision to ensure everybody – regardless of age, sex, religion, ethnicity or any other difference – had the ability to access mental health and emotional support for their loss. The organisation has expanded rapidly and offers counselling, coaching, training, bereavement support groups, workshops and more, across Leeds and beyond.  

Impact North will be working with the Hamara Centre in helping ethnic minorities receive mental health support. The partnership will offer free mental health consultations and training to those staff who wish to know and understand more about the mental health of the families they work with. Sessions include confidential mental health consultations, bespoke group training on areas like understanding attachment, and the impact of domestic violence on family relationships. In addition, they are providing one-to-one and group staff support sessions for professionals to look at how they can best look after their own wellbeing.

Leeds Autism AIM is a free service for autistic adults in Leeds who receive little or no funded support. It was founded in late 2014 by The Advonet Group (formerly Leeds Advocacy) and is co-led by a number of autistic adults and carers/parents of autistic adults.

Leeds GATE is a vibrant and brave grassroots organisation led by Gypsy and Traveller people in partnership with others in and across West Yorkshire. Throughout the last 15 years of operation, Leeds GATE has demonstrated an award-winning track record of community activism, social action and member-led innovation.

Solace provides free counselling, psychotherapy and advocacy in the Yorkshire and Humber region to the survivors of persecution and exile.

Young Black Minds is a mental health peer support group for Black male-identifitying individuals in Leeds, aged 16 to 25. It provides closed peer support community groups based on shared personal experience and empathy, focusing on strengths to help develop skills and strategies to maintain mental health and wellbeing.

If you want to learn more about tackling health inequalities or our work around mental health in Leeds, get in touch.