A campaign by a Hartlepool actor for people to show support for anxiety sufferers has received the support of a host of celebrities.
Former Coronation Street star Dan Westwood, who played Kylie Platt’s pal Ralph in the ITV soap, is using social media to reach people affected by the condition.
His Here4U campaign encourages people to post and share videos of themselves on Facebook or Twitter pledging their support for people who suffer from anxiety.
After launching just two weeks ago it has already received the backing of celebrities including his Coronation Street co-stars Kym Marsh and Georgia Taylor whose video has had over 26,000 views on Twitter.
Dan, 33, who is originally from the St Aidan’s area of Hartlepool, currently working as a TV presenter in Manchester, said came up with the idea after suffering from panic attacks in TV studios and on stage for over a year.
He said: “Anxiety is quite rife in the performing industry.
“I was on tour with CBeebies when I was on stage saying my lines and it felt like I wasn’t there.
“I want to speak out to others to get help and not be ashamed of the stigma that comes with mental health, especially within the younger Instagram generation comparing lives at a very young stage.
“The campaign encourages people to upload a video pledge to Facebook and Twitter to reach out and promise to always be there for friends and family in hope those suffering will then feel they have support to reach out and talk and therefore take steps to tackle worries and struggles.” Dan, who has also been in BBC soap Doctors, says he has had overwhelming support since the campaign’s launch including from actress Claire Sweeney, Hartlepool Britain’s Got Talent star Danny Posthill, Debbie McGee, Nick Junior presenter Natalie Jade and Celebs Go Dating coach Nadia Essex.
He has also spoken to X Factor winner James Arthur who just this week opened up about an anxiety attack he suffered on stage.
Dan added: “Even if you haven’t been through anxiety everyone knows someone who has so can empathise with what they must be going through.
“I’ve had overwhelming support for the campaign from family, friends and co-stars.
“A lot of the guys from Corrie are doing it as well.
“I think people want to talk about it.”
He hopes to visit schools from September to help spread the message among young people.
To show your support upload your pledge now Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #here4u