The Invictus Trust

945. Amber Cowburn
946. Sophia Cowburn

Amber and Sophia Cowburn, aged 24 and 25 from Truro, set up a pioneering mental health charity with their parents and older sister Laura to support local teenagers after their brother Ben took his own life in a psychiatric unit.

Amber and Sophia Cowburn

Through ‘The Invictus Trust’, a charity for young people run by young people, the sisters aim to ‘rebrand’ mental health for teens, creating fun and sociable events where they can have conversations they would not normally have.

Their work to provide better support led them to create a successful campaign to create Cornwall’s first mental health unit for children and adolescents. Construction work began in the grounds of Bodmin Hospital in May and the unit will open next year. Amber and Sophia continue to campaign to make it the first mental health unit in the UK to offer continuous care for 13-25 years olds in one setting.

Amber and Sophia have also fundraised over £100,000 to support other mental health initiatives in Cornwall and, while studying at Cambridge University, Amber set up the first ‘Student Minds Cambridge’ and organised the largest mental health conference in the university’s history. They were honoured as ‘Rotary UK Young Citizens of the Year’ in 2016.

As part of the celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, volunteers who are making a real difference within the health and care sector are being recognised over seven days by the Prime Minister, with their work celebrated at an NHS 70 roundtable and official reception at No. 10 Downing Street on the 4th July.

 

In a personal letter to Amber, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Your ambitious work with Sophia is transforming the way teens and adolescents view their mental health, so that taking steps to enhance it is seen as just as positive as improving physical health. ‘The Invictus Trust’ is creating conversations and transforming services. It is a wonderful way to honour the memory of your brother Ben. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, I want to pay tribute to all you have done and wish you every success with the charity in the future.”

In a personal letter to Sophia, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You should be enormously proud of the impact the work you and Amber are doing is having on mental health. Through ‘The Invictus Trust’ you are transforming the way teens and adolescents think about mental health, making it just as normal to talk about looking after mental health as it is to take care of physical health. It is a wonderful way to honour the memory of your brother Ben. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, I want to pay tribute to your work and wish you every success with the charity in the future.”

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, said:

“When tragedy strikes a family, so often surviving family members want to do something positive to raise awareness to prevent others suffering the same fate. Along with many others Amber and Sophie have played an important part in raising awareness of the need for more children’s and young people’s mental health services in Cornwall.”

Amber and Sophia said:

“We’re really really honoured to be receiving this award from the Prime Minister as Points of Light, and it means a massive amount to us, to all the work we’ve being doing and obviously in memory of our brother. It’s also really important to us it’s on the NHS 70th Birthday, and we hope that moving forward the NHS will prioritise mental health and be innovative and fund it well. Thank you.”

See more about ‘The Invictus Trust’

 

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