A Birmingham teenager, who won this year’s top award of Mental Health Superstar at the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Thrive awards, is helping local people who are struggling to cope with the Covid-19 shutdown.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), Sophia Badhan, aged 19, has recorded a series of video messages to help other people who are experiencing mental health issues during the lockdown.
The theme for this year is kindness, and the WMCA will be sharing stories of good work being done across the region throughout the Week using the hashtag #WMKindness.
Sophia Badhan is pictured with Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street at the Thrive awards earlier this year
Sophia, from Sutton Coldfield, said: “The impact of Covid-19 on people's mental health shouldn’t be underestimated. This is a difficult time for us all, but particularly for those with pre-existing mental health conditions.
“I have really struggled myself, but mental health services and charities are still here to support us, although they may look a little different. It’s really important to reach out and get help as soon as possible if you feel you can’t cope.”
Sophia is the diversity and inclusion lead for the mental health youth board Think 4 Brum, where she has led the development of a Self-Isolation Survival Guide, which offers lots of practical advice and tips to help young people with pre-existing mental health conditions stay positive during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Organised by the WMCA, the Thrive awards celebrate the people, teams or organisations who have made a significant contribution to improving mental health in their area.
Sophia won the top award at this year’s event for working tirelessly to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, following her own battle with anorexia.
She has gone into schools to encourage positive talk around mental health and worked with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to improve the involvement of young people in their own care.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, WMCA portfolio holder for wellbeing and leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “It’s vital that we all have good mental health and resilience to cope with the current situation and the uncertainties that many are facing for the future.
“Sophia is a fantastic mental health ambassador and it’s great to see her determination to help other people who are struggling with the Covid-19 lockdown.”
Watch Sophia talking about the importance of good mental health here: https://youtu.be/EKcCSTJyQqc
For more information on where to access or offer help during the pandemic, visit the WMCA Covid-19 support microsite: https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/covid-19-support/