Northampton music festival to show ‘mental health as normal as diabetes’

Northampton music festival to show 'mental health as normal as diabetes'

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The Grey Dog Trust

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The Grey Dog Festival features local musicians such as Amii Dawes, who performed at the first festival last year

A free music festival hopes to tackle the “stigma” about mental health and make it “as normal as talking about diabetes” for young people.

Saturday’s all-day Grey Dog Festival at Northampton’s Roadmender is organised by charity The Grey Dog Trust.

It will be headlined by former X Factor finalist Lucy Spraggan, and also feature local musicians.

Organiser Paul Hanrahan said: “Mental health is a major issue and there is still a massive stigma attached to it.”

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Getty/Niki Nikolova

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Lucy Spraggan competed in the X Factor in 2012 when she was up against Rylan Clark-Neal, who is now a BBC Radio 2 presenter on Saturday afternoons

Mr Hanrahan said the festival, now its second year, “aims to demonstrate that talking about bi-polar is as normal as talking about diabetes”.

“It is important that young people don’t feel embarrassed and ashamed about having a mental illness,” he added.

“Keeping it hidden just makes it worse.”

The 54-year-old, who previously worked as a teacher at St Andrew’s mental health hospital, said the acts chosen for the festival “are as determined as we are to talk openly about mental illness”.

The charity was set up December 2017 in Northampton with aim of “de-stigmatising” mental illness.

It said it “wanted to be a part of a movement that tackles the issues before young people reach crisis point”.

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Lucy Spraggan

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Lucy Spraggan’s 2016 song Dear You was written about her own mental health

Headliner Lucy Spraggan, who found fame in the 2012 X Factor, said: “I am really excited to be involved in such great work.”

The 28-year-old singer-songwriter has spoken about her own mental health, and has suffered from anxiety, paranoia and depression.

The line-up includes Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Jamie Lee Harrison, former The Enid front man Joe Payne, and local artist such as Amii Dawes and Roses And Pirates.

The festival also features spoken word, yoga and mindfulness and involves other mental health and youth charities such as Samaritans and Papyrus.

The charity said a grant from the Arts Council National Lottery Project allowed them to keep the festival free.

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