The founder of a community project has called on the council to support mental health education in schools.

Derek Reid, 39, founded LD - Let's Talk six years ago. It provides online support, holds weekly meetings and encourages children to talk about their feelings.

The latter, he said, is key to minimise mental health struggles in the population and he is calling for more support from Glasgow City Council.

He said: “For real change, it has to come from people who are bigger and more powerful than me.

“We need schools and education to be involved. We need Glasgow City Council to help projects like mine be able to stretch and do more than we can.

"We started the multicoloured benches at schools as part of the early intervention scheme.

“It teaches kids that talking is important and not be afraid to discuss their feelings.

“We have about 15 of them in schools and community clubs across the city.

“I work in a school and I know it works. We are one of the only projects in Glasgow that got benches into schools.

“Our goal is to have one in every single school across the city."

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Glasgow Times: Derek Reid and the rainbow bench at Castleton Primary School Derek Reid and the rainbow bench at Castleton Primary School (Image: Colin Mearns/Newsquest)

Glasgow Times: Derek and his son Lex, age 6Derek and his son Lex, age 6 (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

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He explained they work by providing a physical space for youngsters to share their problems with each other, hopefully creating a habit of it.

The dad-of-four said: “If we can encourage kids to talk about how they feel now, by the time they are adults they will realise that talking is not as hard as they first thought it would be.

“It’s like anything, like teaching something.

“The idea is also that it’s a domino effect, if one of them starts doing it, they all will.

“It’s important we start off very young."

The volunteer is also a support for worker learning at Castleton Primary and the founder of the football academy Little Dynamos.

Six years ago, he started a community project after two people close to him died of suicide.

He said: “I’ve got a million things to do but helping people is really important.

“It’s ultimately what I try to achieve and it is something I am very proud of.

"When I found out [about the deaths], it was an instant reaction.

"I created the page that morning.

"There wasn’t a lot of thought put into the name. I just put it on social media and the name stuck."

Derek has made a huge difference in his area and beyond and recently, he won the public vote in the South and is in the running for the Glasgow Times Community Champions Individual Award.

The ceremony will be held on December 5.

He said: "We’ve saved lives. This is as good as it’s going to get. That is what our goal is.

“Ultimately, we want people to connect with each other, it’s really important.

“If you have someone to relate to, it helps a lot.

“People often think that they are alone, so the idea is to get them to a meeting and make them realise they are not."

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

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The scheme is run by a small number of volunteers, who work with very little resources to help adults cope with hardships.

Derek said: “Right now, we are a community project, we are not a registered charity. We don’t get funding, we don’t get support, we just do what we can.

“It’s a struggle but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I started the campaign before lockdown. During the pandemic, that was a tough time, we were doing Zoom meetings.

“And now, the financial crisis, the cost of living has not made life easier for people who are struggling.

“I don’t think it will ever get easier, it pains me to say it.

“Everybody has mental health issues, you just never know when the little flicker is going to go.

“Of course, there will be times that are harder than others but these issues last forever."

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson highlighted that there are existing resources in place at schools.

They said: "Education services - and in particular, education psychologists - do an amazing amount of work in schools supporting young people and complementing what teachers and school staff already deliver on."

The Glasgow Community Champion Awards are run by the Glasgow Times in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Wheatley Glasgow, Trades House Glasgow and Merck.