Former solicitor taking on 23-hour stream in aid of mental health

A former lawyer from Kendal is getting ready to stream mental health advice and conversations non-stop for 23 hours.

Lucy Lawrence-Bell is hoping to raise over £500 for the charity Mind, which supports people with their mental health.

It's hoped sharing experiences of depression and anxiety will help others, something around a quarter of us will struggle with this year.

Lucy says she's struggled with depression and anxiety since about the age of 16 but hadn't had much formal support until she was an adult, when things really came to a head in University.

She said: "I had a lot of worries about my health and around exams and university and the future, which is something that a lot of teenagers will struggle with."

Then around six months ago things got a lot worse. Lucy said: "I was very anxious and I ended up going off work because I'd had a really bad panic attack one night and then I actually ended up in urgent care and that was a bit of a wake up call that I needed to change something."

That change came on a visit to the Lake District. Lucy sat with her partner near Crummock Water and realised after having been cooped up in a Manchester flat through the pandemic that their lifestyle should change.

They made the move to Kendal and then Lucy made the bold move to quit her job as a solicitor.

Lucy explained: "I thought well I'm in a really high pressure, stressful job so it made sense to kind of just take some time out and try to get better."

Lucy is streaming on Saturday 23 April Credit: ITV News

It wasn't quite the silver bullet she'd hoped for though, as having just moved to Kendal there were dark times when her partner was at work.

Lucy added: "I'd only recently just moved to Kendal so I didn't have many friends up here at the time so I became really depressed really quickly. I wasn't going out of the house much; not talking to people; I had no energy; no interests; no motivation to do anything really."

So Lucy called Mind's Infoline for advice and saw a GP who recommended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which looks at where thought come from to find strategies for changing them.

Lucy told ITV Border: "You can start to notice patterns and you can start to notice behaviours and then you can start to make really positive changes."

The GP also recommended mental health charity Growing Well, near Kendal at Sizergh Farm. Through growing vegetables people are supported with their mental health.

Lucy said: "Growing Well for me has been kind of the turning point in my mental health recovery because I came here and you know you can just be in the green all day: you're working with plants and it's so relaxing and therapeutic and nothing really matters too much and peer support here is probably the thing that's inspired me to talk about mental health."

Lucy's taken that drive to talk about mental health into a new initiative to raise money for Mind. She's doing a live stream for 23 hours on the 23 April, because 23% of us will experience things like depression and anxiety this year.

They will be talking about mental health, hearing from others who have experienced it, as well as cooking and playing music.

Lucy says she'd like to discuss some of the inequalities in mental health too: "One thing that I've noticed in my journey is there seems to be a lot of racial inequality in mental health.

"You don't see as many people of colour within these spaces as you do white people and I kind of want to look into why that might be.

"And as a pansexual woman I'm also quite interested to look into why LQBTQ+ people are more likely to be affected by poor mental health. So I'll be exploring those two ideas too."That conversation begins at 10am on Saturday 23 April.