A YOUNG Paignton woman is aiming to help people get creative to tackle mental illness.
Katie Sowden (pictured) runs a youth group in the town, which encourages youngsters with mental health issues to express themselves through creative outlets.
With support from Sanctuary Housing and charity project Fixers, 22-year-old Katie is creating a poster campaign, bringing Torbay to life through the eyes of young people.
Katie is now calling on young artists, aged between 16 and 25, in the area to contribute towards the campaign.
She has been working with Fixers, a charity which supports young people to 'fix the future', since the beginning of this year.
She said: "Fixers has helped me to develop a creative way to tackle the issue.
"My project gave me the opportunity to help young people who suffer from mental illness to get creative. It has also empowered me to know I can make a difference to my community."
Now, she wants more young people from across Torbay to get involved with her campaign, which she hopes will help persuade local decision-makers to continue providing funds for vital mental health services.
She said: "With the poster campaign I see my project reaching more people on a wider scale across Torbay.
"Studies have proved the arts have a positive effect on people who have mental health conditions, as it allows them to integrate with people in a similar position, and encourages them to express themselves.
"Without support groups and projects, people will lose confidence and feel alone. I hope this campaign will encourage local councillors, MPs and the general public to see how vital creative mental health support is to the lives of young people."
Katie is a Sanctuary Housing resident and the group has provided £60,000 funding to Fixers to support projects in locations across England and Scotland, including Torbay, which are led by young residents aged 16 to 25.
More than 7,000 young people have already joined the Fixers movement, with previous projects covering a range of subjects including cyber-bullying, gang culture, homelessness and eating disorders.
Sophie Atkinson, Sanctuary Group's head of community investment and sustainability, said: "We are committed to supporting young people and providing them with the opportunity to make a positive contribution to their community."
If you are interested in taking part in the poster campaign and would like to put your creative skills to use, contact Katie Ost, Fixers young person's coordinator for the area, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.