Agoraphobic turns entrepreneur, with Monty Python actress’s help

Laura Westcott, right, with Carol Cleveland on Shoreham Beach u1UFl0QEn71oAY-P_GH8

Laura Westcott, right, with Carol Cleveland on Shoreham Beach u1UFl0QEn71oAY-P_GH8

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Monty Python actress Carol Cleveland has helped an agoraphobic to turn social entrepreneur.

With Carol’s help, Laura Westcott has found the strength to develop a new charity that will help the many people who struggle with the negative impact of stress and anxiety.

Laura, who will be moving back in with Carol next week, was living in the city when she was heartbroken last year.

“I wanted to escape London so the famous actor Bruce Montague from Brighton introduced me to Carol, who lives in Shoreham,” she explained.

“Carol nursed me back to health. In aid of World Mental Health Day, I want to share my personal journey of transformation from an agoraphobic to a disability campaigner and social entrepreneur.

“I’ve always been an avid campaigner of helping people, whether it’s spending a week in a wheelchair, a week ‘blind’, or raising awareness for all my friends in need.”

Laura is launching a charity called Music for Mental Wealth to help improve mental wellbeing through music and is hoping to raise £10,000 through crowdfunding.

To mark World Mental Health Day on Monday, she shared online a previously unseen music video of her performance of Beautiful, written by Charissa Saverio and Francesco Dicosmo. She said she created it on the same significant date last year for people, like her, who have never realised their true beauty.

Laura said: “At the tender age of 17, I had my first panic attack, which spiralled into agoraphobia and shattered my dreams of becoming a singer.

“My doctor prescribed Citalopram, which I took until I was 30 years old. Being on antidepressants during that pivotal time of growing from a girl to a woman robbed me of the opportunity to learn what ‘real’ emotions are.

“I hid my problems from my colleagues at a national bewspaper for eight years because I was frightened I would lose my job. The truth is, there is still a stigma attached and something has to be done about it.”

Recent studies have shown that one in four people in the world will experience mental health disorders in their lives. Around 450 million people are currently known to be suffering.

Laura chose music as a medium as it is scientifically proven to help reduce stress. She is creating the new charity in addition to her creative music agency Soundcheque and music charity for the visually impaired, Sound for Sight.

“Music for Mental Wealth (MMW) aims to help people who have struggled with the negative impact of stress and anxiety,” she explained.

“It will feature music from all genres infused with a unique scientific formula to improve general and mental wellbeing. We are working with medical research partners to prove it works. It really does, I’m living proof.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/MusicforMentalWealth for more information.

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