Stephen Williams has launched a mental health awareness clothing range

A former Mayor has launched a new business and clothing range to support people with mental health issues.

Stephen Williams, from Colwyn Bay, hopes CBT (Connect Build Transform) will shine a light on problems faced by businesses and individuals across the UK, notably those impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Having qualified this year as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, the 47 year-old has also unveiled the Mind Free Clothing UK range of hoodies and leisurewear, emblazoned with hashtags and messages encouraging positivity.

Supported by Hwb Menter/Enterprise Hub at M-SParc on Anglesey, and in collaboration with Mark Bryant from Fast Way to Fitness in Mochdre, Stephen hopes to be able to help people when they need it most.

Having suffered with his own mental health following the death of his beloved mum Maureen, the former Eirias High School pupil said: “I started the company earlier this year but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns I’ve had to do everything online, including completion of the qualification.

“Until it is safe to do so I’ll continue holding sessions via video conferencing but have also been able to make strides in developing the clothing brand and CBT in the background.”

He added: “I’ve always been passionate about supporting people with mental health issues, through my role as a councillor and Mayor of the Bay of Colwyn, and in other voluntary roles over the years.

“It will be great to work with Mark, who does so much in mental health, fitness and wellbeing coaching, so I’m excited at what lies ahead and am sure we can help people.

“I’ve been through the tough times myself when my mum died; I felt a change in attitude and experienced some dark times. It’s only when I started to talk that I made the journey out of it, but many of us – especially men – are often too proud to speak about how we feel.”

Mark said the synergy between both organisations made working together a natural next step.

“Health, exercise, and mental health and wellbeing go in hand in hand, so we can support each other with corporate wellness, resilience and training to help people transform their lives,” he said.

“There is still a stigma around stress and depression and even talking about the issues we face, but given the events of this year it’s time to open up and be there for one another.”

Through CBT, Stephen is also planning to hold webinars and podcasts, as well as appearing on local radio station, Bayside.