Talking our way to good mental health

By Jit Parmar, Owner of The Funk Academy

During the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health issues have affected many people. With the strict lockdown restrictions in Leicester, we saw more people suffering from loneliness, feeling insecure because of job losses, and stressed from work pressures and managing family life.
On World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2020), we collaborated with Lamp (Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project), because each year in Leicester around 80 people a year commit suicide – that’s far too many. We wanted to make sure that people know where to go if they need help and if they feel they can’t cope.

The ‘TALK’ campaign

To help tackle this issue, we developed the ‘TALK’ campaign, which involved making powerful eye catching t-shirts with key messages to highlight that talking is the most important thing you can do when dealing with tough times. For each t-shirt sold we donated £3 to Lamp to help fund valuable resources to support mental health and wellbeing.
We hoped that as people walk around Leicestershire, they will see the message of ‘TALK’ on the t-shirts, and it will stay in their minds. I hoped the t-shirts would do all the talking. And if we can encourage just one person that is feeling suicidal to talk about their problems, we can help save them and avoid heartbreak for their family and loved ones.

To Purchase a T-shirt please visit –

In the spotlight

The campaign quickly gained traction and was promoted in several media channels including the Leicester Mercury, and I also did radio interviews on Capital East Midlands, Radio 2 Funky, BBC Radio Leicester and EAVA FM.
My first radio interview ever was on Radio 2 Funky. I found it a bit difficult to speak about my feelings live on radio and the nerves got to me. Speaking about my low points in life was bringing
back all the negatives and struggles I faced. I felt better after talking to my loved ones after the show. I soon realised the campaign was teaching me more than I expected, and I truly believe that to ‘TALK’ is the way to positive mental health.

Campaign backing

I am grateful to have the support from so many customers who have bought the t-shirt and have shared their story on how they have suffered with mental health issues. Just recently Jaimal Patel
shared his story on his work-related mental health issues on the BBC’s The One Show and ITV Central News.
A big highlight was having the support from Leicester’s very own European and Commonwealth Super Bantamweight boxing champion Rendall Munroe. It was a real pleasure to hear about his life
and thoughts on mental health. And it was fantastic to see him wearing the ‘TALK’ t-shirt!
I am incredibly thankful to all the customers that have helped raise awareness on social media by taking selfies with the t-shirts on and tagging @LampAdvocacy and @TheFunkAcademy to help
spread the word to their followers. It’s so important that we work together to get the message out there – we cannot do this alone!

A proud moment

I was so proud to receive the Lamp Acts of Kindness Champion Award for our work on the TALK campaign. I was not expecting this at all! I attend the Lamp event to provide an update on the TALK
campaign and to announce that we had raised more than £750 for Lamp. It was a real surprise, but a good surprise!

What’s next

I’m delighted that The Funk Academy is supporting the Lamp 5k challenge for Mental Health Awareness Week (9 – 15th May) by printing the campaign t-shirts. The initiative encourages everyone
to get active during Mental Health Awareness Week by walking, running or cycling, but feel free to get creative. To find out more, go to Lamp’s website
Thank you to everyone for your continued to support. Let’s continue to ‘TALK’ our way to good mental health.

TALK for a good cause

I am so proud to announce that since September 2020 we have raised £1,962.00 for Lamp! I am looking forward to raising more funds as we continue to promote the TALK campaign.


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