Mental health work wins teens an award

Antony Sibley, far left, and Callum Gebbie, far right, with fellow members of Connect
Antony Sibley, far left, and Callum Gebbie, far right, with fellow members of Connect

Antony Sibley from Shillington and Callum Gebbie from Sandy, and their fellow members of Connect came third in the Beds YOPEYs last Friday.

YOPEY (Young People of the Year) is a campaign to give young people a fairer image in the media, and society as a whole by rewarding young unsung heroes and setting them up as positive role models for other young people to copy.

Connect is a group of young people who are raising awareness of mental health and want to reduce the stigma attached to mental illnesses.

All of them have used the county’s mental health services. Callum, aged 14, had help to deal with anxiety, anger and confidence problems.

Antony, aged 19, suffered anxiety attacks during his school exams. He has spoken at a teachers’ conference and has enjoyed his work with Connect so much that he is delaying going to university for a year and is becoming an intern at the bereavement and trauma service, CHUMS.

The group publishes a magazine that is available in medical waiting rooms and has made a short film, which is due to be shown in Bedfordshire schools later this year.

CHUMS spokesman Niki Scott said: “The members of the group give up their free time and are all passionate and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly together to raise awareness and educate other young people and adults.”

The group won £200 for coming third in the YOPEYS.

First prize went to 20-year-old Dawood Masood, who promotes understanding and brings communities together in Luton.