Charity man to put mental health centre stage for music festival in Northampton

Paul Hanrahan is hoping to help host a music festival next year to raise awareness of mental health.
Paul Hanrahan is hoping to help host a music festival next year to raise awareness of mental health.

The chair of trustees for a newly registered mental health charity is planning to host a music festival in Northampton next year in a bid to raise awareness for youngsters mental health.

Paul Hanrahan 52, of Abington has worked as a teacher at St Andrews Hospital for seven years with up to 90 detained young people with varying mental health issues.

For the past two years he has hosted a small scale music festival for the youngsters in the hospital grounds, called Green Fest, featuring unsigned acts from up and down the country to perform and share their own experiences of mental health.

Now, he has set up his own charity, The Grey Dog Trust.

He said: "Alongside some other like-minded people we are planning to put on a not for profit music festival with the aim of raising awareness of issues surrounding young people’s mental health and also providing a platform for charities and people affected by mental health to come together to communicate in a normalised setting.

"Adolescent mental health is a hot topic at the moment but is an area that is extremely underfunded and misunderstood. The statistics show that three students in a classroom of 30 suffer from some kind of mental health difficulty. Yet there is no specific training for teachers in how to recognise or deal with these issues.

"There is a dire shortage of funded adolescent beds in the NHS and therefore vulnerable teenagers often are housed inappropriately in adult wards. In addition to these huge problems there is still a massive stigma attached to mental health in the adult world so imagine how isolated and distressed young people with mental health difficulties must feel."

The Grey Dog Festival, which has submitted an application for a premises licence, is set to take place on the outskirts of Northampton next August.

For more information, see: http://thegreydog.org/the-grey-dog-trust