Alerting our young to the dangers of a ‘false reality’

Sam Tyrer   now working full time on helping people with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts
Sam Tyrer now working full time on helping people with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts
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Social media gives people a false sense of reality, and too many can get caught up in a world that is not real and find themselves comparing their own life unfavourably.

This is one of the messages Sam Tyrer wants to pass on to young people as part of his mission to tackle mental health issues and reduce the number of suicides and self harm incidents in Lancashire.

Sam, 24, who lives in Hutton, near Preston, was working as a staff nurse at Royal Preston Hospital and found himself coming into regular contact with patients who had tried to end their own lives.

Sam organised an event, called Change Talks, to open up the conversation around mental health and a range of speakers talked about their own experience of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

The event was hugely successful and, since then, Sam has done talks all over the country and has now left nursing so he can concentrate on helping to promote positive mental health and spread awareness of the

issues people are battling.

Sam, who was recently awarded a Young Citizen of Lancashire award, says: “Everything has escalated very quickly. I have now left nursing and am doing early intervention prevention with schools and colleges throughout Lancashire.

“I left nursing at the start of January with the support of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and they are helping me develop Change Talks by collaborating with their services.

“We want to get the school talks into the school curriculum at high school age and the aim is to get young people to develop a more resilient mind and develop coping strategies.

“We want to talk to young people about things such as the effects of bullying and social media and how it is a false reality that they shouldn’t get caught up in.

“The talks in schools are aimed to give the younger generations the tools they need later in life and to have a better understanding of their social environment and amplify their ability for self learning and emotional


Sam has some personal experience of what people battling depression and mental health issues go through, as he used to be very overweight after turning to food as comfort after losing his grandmother.

He recalls feeling very low with no self confidence and he wants to ensure other people do not struggle with feeling isolated.

Sam says: “Statistically, in Lancashire, we have some of the worst rates for mental health in the country.

“Since January, there have been five suicides of under-16s in Lancashire.

“Our ultimate aim is to decrease the number of

suicides and self harm cases in the county and raise awareness far and wide.”

As well as Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Change Talks has partnered with The Wildlife Trusts and the World Health Innovation Summit.

The goal is to tackle the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues and to get people talking openly about their problems and to change the way people think about mental health.

Sam explains: “Change Talks’ mission is to

revolutionise the way we think, talk and act about mental health.

“We aim to reduce the stigma, increase awareness and promote coping strategies, leading to a healthier and happier mind.”

Change Talks hosts regular events for the public and delivers talks for schools and colleges to tackle the ever-growing mental health problems affecting the community.

There is a real focus on social and emotional learning to engage young people to think differently.

Alongside this, they

offer talks to small and large corporations, talking about mental health within the workplace.

One in three sick days are now recorded as being mental health related so they want to deliver talks which enable people to understand and cope with mental health better.

Change Talks events provide a variety of topics on mental health issues alongside professionals delivering talks on how to create a healthier mind.

Many of the speakers have experienced mental health issues themselves and share their powerful stories of how they deal with it or how they overcame them.

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