07891 277310

Leaders for Leeds Default Image

“Hope – Rise & Shine” Mental Health & Community Initiative

Hello to you all, I hope that I can grab your attention for a short while, please?

My name’s Mark Russell, and I co-founded the “Hope” initiative this year, as a direct result of personal experience of mental illness, and the holes within the care cycle that exist, acting in a counterproductive manner to those who need the help, the service users themselves.

Due to the effects of austerity, people in certain areas of Leeds are experiencing many crises, finding work that pays enough to support a family, benefits, mounting debt problems, housing issues – these social stressors are causing people who have no preexisting condition to go into crisis, due to the stressors mentioned, leaving our Mental Health services overcrowded, and the staff simply having no time to deal with the root causes of these crises, but to instead manage the condition, not treat the person. This means that the key ingredient of any recovery is missing, and that’s empathy.

Our initiative is about every community having a safe space, a place where you can go that’s a couple of minutes walk from where you live, where you can get that “preventative medicine”, debt advice, benefits help, a human touch, and from someone you may already know, or walk past every day – no badges or lanyards, just human help from those who share your community.

We strongly believe that if you help there, at source, a lot of the crises experienced by Austeritys’ worst victims, you can save that person from needing to go into the Mental Health care cycle, which itself can be cumbersome and time-consuming, thus exacerbating the crisis instead of helping.

This then means that those with preexisting conditions get more time spent on their root causes within the Mental Health centre or Community Team, lifting a large burden from the NHS, social Services and the Council, saving these bodies costs in so many areas, bringing engagement back to these fractured communities, helping to instill self-esteem into these areas, and more autonomy via local enterprise, and to create a more empathic and engaged society from grass roots up.

We have a website, and here’s a link to our mission statement, and also access to the other pages there as well.


I’m more than happy to have dialogue with anyone who wishes to provide input/ideas/suggestions, as this is for us all ultimately, and between us, maybe we can start to engender more humanity and compassion back into our society.max1