Lewis Baxter, the Social Entrepreneur Helping Those with Mental Health Issues
Meet Lewis Alexander Baxter, the award-winning 21-year-old social entrepreneur that is helping those with mental health issues Who is Lewis Baxter? Lewis Baxter is the award-winning 21-year-old social entrepreneur that is helping those with mental health issues after suffering with depression himself. Aged 17, Lewis battled with mental health issues that quickly accumulated into a period of depression. This period of time was so tough for Lewis that in March 2016, he attempted to take his life. Fortunately, he was helped out at the last minute, allowing him to live another day. Since then, Lewis ensures that he makes every day count. I found myself standing on a bridge. I felt helpless and with no escape. After this traumatic experience, Lewis opened up about his story, finding the courage to speak to his Sixth Form. This was the first time he shared his story, and certainly not his last. Speaking about my mental health for the first time felt really good – your “typical lads” or outwardly had a strong and determined exterior opened up afterwards about their mental health, so I thought maybe I could help more people. Today, Lewis regularly speaks at FTSE companies, various non-profit organisations, at events and conferences, at universities, and he completed his first TEDx talk in June 2019. His topic: "Mental health: where do we go from here?". In 2018, Lewis exercised his entrepreneurial mindset by forming The Blurred Line Group - the UK’s funding and support hub for local mental health. Their focus is on improving the nation’s mental health. The group has provided funding for many charities across the UK, with each charity being eligible for up to £750 each to help them with their work. After seeing great success with The Blurred Line Group, Lewis had another brainwave as to how he could help even more people during the isolation period. Therefore, in March 2020, chit-chat was born. chit-chat is a social enterprise that allows people to have a conversation, either anonymously on the phone or via social media. Their mission is to tackle loneliness and support peoples’ wellbeing in this unprecedented time. We want to tackle loneliness, isolation and bring some positivity to Britain As the Hub for young business minds, IOTK spoke to Lewis to find out more. IOTK: For people going through mental health battles, what advice would you give them? Lewis: The biggest challenge facing anyone with mental health struggles is acknowledging they need help. All too often, people can and do keep things bottled up. I'd encourage people to be as open and transparent as possible - it isn't easy, and you shouldn't rush this process. But coming to terms with the fact that you are struggling is extremely brave. Talking to someone objective, like a peer at school and university or a colleague at work can be really useful. IOTK: Looking forward, what do you aim to achieve with your projects? Lewis: My main ambition is to do things differently, to be innovative in my approach. Our focus with The Blurred Line Group is to support as many local mental health projects and charities as possible. With chit-chat, we want to provide a forum for our nation's most vulnerable to be able to have a chat with our volunteers and bring some joy to their life. These projects are all about communities and all about people - we want to positively shape people's lives.