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Watch: New Lipswich Project uses music to raise mental health awareness

PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 September 2020 | UPDATED: 20:01 10 September 2020

One of the images being used by The Lipswich Project to raise mental health awareness Picture: JERMAINE BERNARD

One of the images being used by The Lipswich Project to raise mental health awareness Picture: JERMAINE BERNARD

JERMAINE BERNARD

A new initiative, the Lipswich Project, is using music to break down barriers and raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.

Pierre Rollins, founder of The Lipswich Project Picture: PIERRE ROLLINSPierre Rollins, founder of The Lipswich Project Picture: PIERRE ROLLINS

Founder Pierre Rollins said: “I have reached out to a lot of different people and the reaction has been overwhelming.

“Quite a lot of people I don’t know have messaged us with their stories about mental health, and I am getting back to all of them.”

Mr Rollins had the idea after a family tragedy. His cousin’s daughter, Kia Russell, 19, dide by suicide last year, together with her two-year-old son, Kamari. He wanted to do something in their memory, to help people facing mental health problems and help prevent suicide.

Curtis Blanc of Radical Lounge recording studio in Ipswich is producing the Lipswich Project's album Picture: CURTIS BLANCCurtis Blanc of Radical Lounge recording studio in Ipswich is producing the Lipswich Project's album Picture: CURTIS BLANC

The Ipswich-based community group is using striking black-and-white photographs showing people with their lips sealed to help get its message across.

The motto behind the images, created by photographer Jermaine Bernard, is: “Don’t speak about it, be about it.” But Mr Rollins said: “We do need to speak about it but I’m more about action. I think action speaks louder than words.”

The Lipswich Project has joined forces with Ipswich-based recording studio Radical Lounge, and they are creating an inspiring album featuring a wide range of local artists and including some songs about mental health issues.

Sealed lips - one of the striiking images from The Lipswich Project to raise mental health awareness Picture: JERMAINE BERNARDSealed lips - one of the striiking images from The Lipswich Project to raise mental health awareness Picture: JERMAINE BERNARD

“There will be all kinds of different music, including some uplifting songs,” Mr Rollins said.

MORE: ‘I felt so alone’ - mum speaks out

Curtis Blanc of Radical Lounge said that, as soon as he heard about the project, he wanted to help.

“A client of mine mentioned it to me and suggested I should get involved,” he said. “After speaking to Pierre, I was more than happy to make our resources available to the project.

Kia Russell, 19, with son Kamari, two. Pierre Rollins set up The Lipswich Project in their memory Picture: FACEBOOKKia Russell, 19, with son Kamari, two. Pierre Rollins set up The Lipswich Project in their memory Picture: FACEBOOK

“I myself and family members have been affected by mental health challenges, so it touched me and I thought it was definitely something I wanted to get behind.”

Among the musicians taking part is singer-songwriter Jade Mayjean, who appeared on hit TV talent series The Voice.

The album, due for release in October, will be just the start, with more activities planned going forward.

One of the striking images being used by The Lipswich Project to raise mental health awareness Picture: JERMAINE BERNARDOne of the striking images being used by The Lipswich Project to raise mental health awareness Picture: JERMAINE BERNARD

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The project is working closely with mental health charity Suffolk Mind and also hopes to work with other organisations in the future.

To find out more and get involved, search for The Lipswich Project on Facebook and thelipswichproject on Instagram.

• If issues in this story have affected you and you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.


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