Basketball legend, Drew Sullivan, has been appointed first Patron of the Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project (LAMP), adding high profile support to the charity’s work.
An independent voluntary organisation, LAMP offers advocacy support across the Leicestershire and Rutland region to individuals living with mental health issues, as well as their carers. Drew’s appointment marks the beginning of a new phase of work that aims to highlight its services to a wider audience.
LAMP Chair, Shaun Johnson, explains: “We’re very well known within the mental health sector but beyond that, we’re not as well-known as we should be.”
Drew’s affiliation with LAMP aims to address this. Shaun added: “I think it’s a way of raising the profile of mental health issues locally. I also think it helps to challenge the stigma around mental health and the brilliant work LAMP is doing to combat that.
“I think sometimes we’ve just gotten on and done the work rather than making a big deal of it. I think it’s time that people were aware of the work we’re doing.”
Best known for his career with the Leicester Riders and his captaincy of the Great Britain Basketball team at the 2012 Olympics, Drew is also an accomplished practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, recently founding RGA Leicester, a training centre affiliated with the Roger Gracie Academy.
Personal experience with mental health has driven Drew to lend his support to LAMP, suffering a period of depression himself. Drew explained: “When you’ve never been in that situation before it’s really frustrating, I didn’t know what was happening. Depression was something I’d never considered.”
Turning to family and friends, Drew considers himself lucky to have had a network of support and sees his role with LAMP as a way to help those who may feel they’re alone: “Not everybody has that close knit unit, people suffer in silence, I did it myself for a while. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be involved. To let people know they don’t have to suffer alone.
“I want to give a voice to people and carry on the conversation around mental health, that’s where my focus as patron will be.”
By Jennifer Morris