Leeds Rhinos player, Stevie Ward, spoke at the Future in Mind launch event at Leeds Civic Hall in February, backing the new citywide strategy to improve young people’s mental health.
The 23 year-old player shared his personal story and spoke about his own experiences of depression that developed when he was put out of action by a series of injuries in 2015 and 2016. Stevie said: “As a 16 year-old I was always striving to achieve a lot. I struggled a bit when I couldn’t play due to injury. My identity wasn’t there anymore. I felt like I wasn’t fulfilling my potential or being who people expected me to be. The low I was feeling was inevitable.”
The event, opened by Councillor’s Lisa Mulherin and Rebecca Charlwood, included performances from Cockburn High School and set out how the NHS in Leeds and Leeds City Council will work together to tackle mental health, social and emotional wellbeing for 0-25 year-olds over the next four years. It is focusing on specific priorities including providing early help, a dedicated programme in schools, enhanced eating disorder service and the new £45m Springwell Academy specialist provision for children with social emotional and mental health needs.