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Tackling teenage depression

212. Keely Hohmann

An 18 year old National Citizen Service graduate from Telford who uses art to help fellow teens combat depression and loneliness.

Keely Hohmann, studies Fine Art at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology and became interested in young people’s mental health when she took part in the National Citizen Service (NCS). Young people taking part in NCS complete a social action project, Keely shared her experience of her own battles with mental health issues and decided to use her interest in all things creative to plug the gap. She set up art sessions for young people aged 12-18 and since August over 1000 people have engaged with her project ‘HE4L’, which uses the tagline ‘#bridgethegap’.

Keely’s HE4L sessions, which have been praised by health practitioners, councillors, charities and schools in the area, are now to be held every fortnight in their newly acquired base. Keely leads a group of young people dedicated to running the HE4L. Keely takes responsibility for growing the programme, workshop planning, engaging with stakeholders including local schools and leading fundraising events. So far, the group has raised £13,000 to continue offering the valuable service to young people in Telford and Wrekin.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“NCS is an incredibly special opportunity. As well as bringing young people together from different backgrounds who wouldn’t otherwise mix, it gives teens like Keely the skills and confidence they need to fulfil their potential and it inspires them to give back to their local communities. As a result NCS graduate Keely is using her artistic talents to create a supportive outlet for young people in Telford who need somewhere to turn. I am pleased to recognise her efforts with a Point of Light award.”

Keely Hohmann said:

“My aim with HE4L is to bridge the gap and raise awareness about the importance of supporting young people. My passion for this comes from my own personal experience of tackling depression and the struggle of seeking support. I refuse to sit back and allow others to experience the same difficulties – HE4L has a chance to make a real difference, offering support and hope to empower young people.”

Local MP, Mark Pritchard, said:

“Keely is a shining example of the talent, compassion and community spirit we are so lucky to see here in Telford. She spotted an opportunity to help her peers and has tackled it with gusto, bringing creative therapy to over 1000 young people. She should be very proud of this award, just as we are of her.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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