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Posted on May 9 2022 by Fiona Bailey

BBC Northampton presenter Helen Blaby has officially opened the county’s first mental health festival Headfest.

The event is taking place at the Royal & Derngate from Monday, May 9 as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The founder of the event openly discussed her mental health journey and told attendees that she felt relief when she was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Now receiving dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), Helen said she felt her diagnosis might seem like a “minor inconvenience” to some, but to her it is a “dreadful experience”.

She added: “It was starting this therapy that made me realise that I’m not special. There are lots of people like me who are already receiving help, but there’s many people who are not and we need to change this.”

It was because of this, that Helen came up with the idea of Headfest, while in the bath back in July. She wanted to find a way to bring together key stakeholders across the county who could help promote mental health services and raise awareness.

She added: “We really need to make it ok, to not be ok. We need to start having these conversations, difficult conversations, to talk openly about mental health. We need to make sure that having a broken mind is as acceptable as having a broken leg.

“Wouldn’t it be great if Northamptonshire was known as the county who is leading the way in mental health and that was is the point of Headfest.”

St Andrew’s Healthcare’s deputy CEO and Executive Medical Director Dr Sanjith Kamath was in attendance at the opening session. He said: “We are so excited to be part of Headfest and I’m proud that we have so many of our teams participating in the event helping to raise awareness.

“I strongly encourage people to watch our film I’m Not Mad, I’m Me, which is being screened throughout the week and focusses on some of our former patients and their lived experience. We also have many of our teams who are holding taster sessions over the course of the week so attendees can understand our holistic approaches that we use at St Andrew’s.”

To visit the schedule, click here.