Music helps change minds in Fia’s memory

editorial image

A charity festival has helped a campaign group in their mission to “change the face of mental health through music.”

The Viva La Fia festival featured 10 local bands, including electronic-pop quartet Victors, garage-psych band Sux Blood, indie singer Chloe Juliette Beswick and Wakefield-based Louie James and the Last Cartel.

The festival was the latest fundraising event organised by the Fia Not campaign, a Wakefield-based mental health support group set up in memory of Sophia Theobald, who died last year.

Campaign manager Donna Hackleton said: “There was a really good atmosphere and there were lots of people with T-shirts with pandas on, because those were what Fia loved.

“There were a few tears during the evening, but there were more hugs than tears, because everyone was supporting each other.

“I had people coming up to me I’d never met before that had known her and wanted to say thank you for doing something to help.

“This isn’t just about Fia, it’s about everyone. We want to change the face of mental health through music.”

Sophia, better known as Fia, was a model and aspiring mental health nurse. She had always been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression, using her position as a model to help challenge misconceptions of poor mental health.

In July last year, overwhelmed by her illness, Fia took her own life.

Her friends and family say that Fia - who sought help from her GP, a mental health team, a women’s centre, A&E and a crisis team - was failed by the current mental health system.

Hotrod Hooligantz.

Hotrod Hooligantz.

They formed the Fia Not campaign group under one simple motto: “We will never stop fighting for Fia.”

The group aim to improve mental health support for young people by creating a safe house, a safe haven where young people in crisis will be offered practical advice and signposted to the services they need.

Donna says that, outside of normal working hours, Wakefield’s crisis support line is staffed by just two people.

“That’s not enough. Mental health crises don’t just happen from Monday to Friday, between nine and five. It wasn’t enough for Fia and it’s not good enough now.

Louie James.

Louie James.

“As with a physical problem, you should be able to get help straight away. If I break my leg I get treated straight away. Why should mental health be any different?”

The campaign group hope to see the festival become an annual event, the highlight of their fundraising calendar.

They estimate that they will need to raise £5,000 to launch the group and the same each year to keep it going.

To keep up to date with the Fia Not Campaign, visit www.facebook.com/VivaLaFia

The Express is backing Fia Not as part of its Time to Care campaign.

We are highlighting the reasons why there is a need to care, looking at issues affecting people in our communities and the work being done to address them.

Hotrod Hooligantz.

Hotrod Hooligantz.

We need to care about poverty and homelessness, about loneliness. We need to care about our children and our elderly and about people in need of healthcare and social support.

We cannot end the struggles that many in our district are facing but together, with little gestures of kindness and compassion, we can make a difference.

Email editorial@wakefieldexpress.co.uk to get involved in the campaign and let us know what you are doing to help.