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Sport helps destigmatise mental illness for young people

Posted: 19/10/17

Two North East doctors have set up the ‘uS’ charity to help young people aged between 12 and 25 with or at risk of developing mental illness.

Dr Mary-Jane Tacchi and Dr Adi Sharma, both Consultant Psychiatrists at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), a provider of mental health and disability services, along with two other trustees registered their charity 18 months ago.

The charity uses sport and fitness to help young people. Physical activity is known to improve not only your physical health but your mental health; it helps lift your mood and raises your self-esteem and confidence as you reach those personal goals. As the charity has no premises at the moment, Mary-Jane and Adi are taking their service to the young people using facilities in the community.

On Saturday 14 October, Mary-Jane and colleagues from NTW completed a 61 mile charity bike ride and raised an amazing £1,500. The cycle ride was a massive success so it is hoped that this will become an annual event.

Mental health is a very topical subject and it’s great to see the Royal family help raise awareness of this. Although we are a small charity, we have been doing a lot of fundraising and it is our aim to raise enough to have a centre where young people can come and join activities, run a social enterprise café, receive advice or just meet their friends.

We are currently bidding for grants to do more but need all the support we can get as we rely on donations to help us deliver these sessions. Our fundraising goal is £250,000 to set up the ‘uS’ Centre, so far we’ve raised £47,000. Our cycle ride was a great day out and I would like to thank everyone who took part, and to Dr Chaudhry, NTW Consultant and her husband who rode the 61 miles on a tandem, thank you.”

Mary-Jane TacchiConsultant Psychiatrist

The charity has set up a fund raising committee and are hoping to have Great North Run numbers next year. They also have someone running the castles marathon for them and someone is trekking to macho pichu all to help raise funds for uS. If you would like to donate visit their website where you can see all the ways that you can donate and details of how you can get involved.

Let’s help the young people of the North East transform their lives and destigmatise mental illness.