Penwortham woman shines spotlight on mental health with open mic night in aid of charity Mind

Drama graduate Hannah Leahy is holding an open mic night in aid of mental health charity Mind at Penwortham Arts Centre "The Venue".
Drama graduate Hannah Leahy is holding an open mic night in aid of mental health charity Mind at Penwortham Arts Centre "The Venue".

A Penwortham woman is putting mental health in the spotlight with an open mic night in aid of charity Mind.

Drama graduate Hannah Leahy is holding the event at Penwortham Arts Centre "The Venue" in Liverpool Road on Friday, November 29 at 7pm. Doors open at 6-30pm.

The 22-year-old decided to raise awareness of both mental illness and available support after battling with anxiety and depression for five years. Proceeds from the event, which includes a collection throughout the night, will go towards mental health charity Mind.

She said: "I've suffered from mental health difficulties myself so I'm really passionate about highlighting this issue. Mind is a really great organisation that offers loads of help and information.

"I was given support when I was in a dark place and things weren't great.

"I was thinking about other people who might be in a similar situation and I want to show them that they're not alone."

Hannah is also a volunteer for a Give Us A Shout, a crisis service funded by Prince William and Kate that allows people to reach out for mental health support via text message.

She added: "The open mic night is also about bringing people together and getting them out of the house if they might not normally leave it."

The arts can also offer people an escape from their problems, according to Hannah.

"I think doing something creative has given me a lot of more confidence to speak up. Theatre and music are a way to express yourself and put how you're feeling into words. It can be really helpful for some people," she said.

"The arts in general offer a good way to recover. I still suffer with a lot of mental health problems now but I sing and make crafts, and that helps.

"They give people who are struggling some time to not think about their problems or deal with what's going on inside."

The open mic will feature an array of local talent, including a five-piece band, acoustic singers, guitarists, a duo and poetry performers.

"I didn't think many people would want to perform but we've filled up the slots really quickly and had people messaging to say they're coming along to support the event," Hannah said.

"It just reinforces the message that no-one is alone and I couldn't be more chuffed."

Entry is by £3 donation and includes a glass of fizz or juice.