Salisbury’s first Mental Health Awareness Gala took place at the Guildhall last year, and after the success of the first event, it is set to return bigger and better for 2022.
Organised by Lucie Jones, the event is something close to her heart after three families close to Lucie lost their sons to suicide. In response, she decided to take action to tackle the taboo subject of mental health and suicide with an awareness gala.
This year’s event will take place at The Gray Manor Hotel in Cholderton on Saturday the 19th of November 2022.
Tickets are £75 and will include a three-course meal, live music from The Treblemakers, a raffle and a variety of “media sensation” speakers talking on the topic of mental health awareness.
One of the speakers is the ‘Mindset Soldier’ David Smith, who uses the power of social media to share his important message.
Speaking to Love Salisbury David said, “I grew up in care from five years old and during my time there I was physically and mentally abused as a child. My mum passed when I was 16 and my father passed when I was 19. I was homeless and lived on the streets.
“At 19 years old I joined the army. Here, I did two tours of Afghan and received a mention in dispatches for gallantry on my second tour when my friend was shot in the head by a sniper and I saved his life.
“I left the army in 2017 because of PTSD. I tried to take my own life twice and I have been in and out of mental health hospitals. I now try to help others through my story and change people’s mindset and do stuff for mental health and suicide prevention.”
Also speaking on the night is the ex-serving soldier Corporal Brian Green, who now shares his message of suicide prevention to 20,000 TikTok followers.
When asked why he wanted to speak at this year’s local Mental Health Gala, Brian said, “Mental Health is an invisible killer that breaks the strongest men. Most men won’t admit that there’s a problem and keep it hidden from the normal world – the question is why? Pride is usually the reason but is it a weakness to show your soft side?
“I’m here to show it’s not. It’s ok not to be ok -speak out before you follow the path of suicide.”
Brian tells Love Salisbury that on the 19th of April 2021, he himself attempted to commit suicide. He was helped by the police and ambulance staff who gave him the medical help he needed at the scene.
“I began to fight this invisible demon, sharing my story to prevent others from following my path.
“I’m still fighting every day with PTSD and suicidal thoughts. I want to show you all that there’s help out there, don’t be afraid to speak out.”
@onelife1975briang #sucidesurvivor❤️🖤 #sucidepervention #sucideawareness #mentalhealthmatters #ptsdawareness💚 ♬ Get You The Moon – Kina
Last year’s gala raised over £14,000 for mental health charities with Goforit Global Investments matching the money raised from ticket sales. The funds went to the Salisbury Samaritans and The Lions Barber Collective – a Bristol-based charity that trains barbers to recognise symptoms of ill mental health.
Kickstart FC use the power of football to offer support to men and women who experience episodes of poor mental health and lack social inclusion.
“Kickstart FC would like to use the funds to open a well-being cafe where people suffering from mental health can go in and talk to someone and have a coffee,” explains Lucie.
The Elliot Project aims to educate the wider community and provide them with the tools required to help those struggling with a mental health crisis.
Organiser Lucie Jones added, “I’m really excited this year to announce my second Charity Gala Dinner to raise awareness of mental health and to raise funds for two worthy charities. Last year we raised £14,000 and this year I’d like to be able to raise more.”
Now, Lucie is looking for people who can help sponsor the event and donate raffle prizes. Last year, many local businesses donated raffle prizes including the Naked Bagel, Wafflemister, George and Dragon Pub, and Beckles Beauty Barn to name a few.
So far, Reeves, Mercedes and Tribbecks have donated exciting prizes for this year.
For sponsorship details, raffle donations or to purchase tickets, email Charitygaladinner@hotmail.com or Luciejones@hotmail.co.uk.