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Gorleston mental health event is set up for young people following Sophie Smith’s disappearance

PUBLISHED: 16:54 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 10 March 2018

A Vigil for the peace of Sophie Smith who went missing on Boxing Day was held at Norwich Cathedral earlier this month. Picture: Nick Butcher

A Vigil for the peace of Sophie Smith who went missing on Boxing Day was held at Norwich Cathedral earlier this month. Picture: Nick Butcher

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A mental health awareness event for young people in the Gorleston and Hopton area has been organised following the disappearance of student Sophie Smith.

Tina Cleveland, chairman of the Central Healthcare Centre Patient Participation Group
Picture supplied by Tina ClevelandTina Cleveland, chairman of the Central Healthcare Centre Patient Participation Group Picture supplied by Tina Cleveland

The event on the night of April 17 at Cliff Park Junior School in Gorleston is designed for young people aged under 25 to give them and their parents an insight into what local organisations, such as Mind, can offer in terms of advice, counselling and referral.

The idea for April’s event came from the Gorleston-based Central Health Centre Patient Participation Group and once it had gathered enough interest from organisations it enlisted the Gorleston Medical Centre and Hopton Surgery Patient Participant Group to help organise it.

Tina Cleveland, chairman of the Central Health Centre group, said: “With the disappearance of a local young lady in the foremost of most of our minds and the problems I had observed from a family member, it became apparent that young people’s mental health was an area that needed exploring.

“Once I started contacting local organisations it was obvious that this is a subject that people feel very strongly about and so convincing them to participate was relatively easy.

Sophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Photo: Norfolk PoliceSophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Photo: Norfolk Police

“The event is designed to give young people and their parents an insight into what local organisations have to offer, the referral system and how they can help.”

As well as giving attendees an insight into what support is out there, the event will have a meditation taster session and guest speakers.

One of the speakers is Nicola Jones, whose daughter Jessica has been diagnosed with anxiety and who will also be speaking.

Miss Jones said: “When you are feeling so low and can’t see a way out all you want is support. I think this event is ideal as it promotes the help available.”

The mental health awareness event starts at 7pm. It is only open to patients from the three health centres involved.

Sophie Smith, 21, was last seen leaving her home in Avondale Road, Gorleston, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

Police say the University of East Anglia student suffers from severe anxiety and depression.

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