AJ and Curtis Pritchard have sat down and opened up about loneliness to mark Mental Health Awareness week. The professional dancers sat down and had a frank discussion about feelings.
During the conversation former Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ told how he felt at his lowest when he was solely caring for his girlfriend Abbie Quinnen following an accident during the pandemic. The Stoke-on-Trent-born star said he sought out help despite knowing he is someone who would not consider support.
Abbie suffered a series of burns when she tried to cut through a glass bottle to turn it into a vase. After the accident she had to undergo lengthy treatment involving skin grafts.
Former Love Island contestant Curtis said he felt lonely when he was performing on Dancing with the Stars Ireland. Curtis said: “I was shocked to find out that 1 in 10 of us feel lonely even when out with friends, I hope that this series sheds a light on this misunderstood topic. Seeing two lads enjoy a great meal and open up hopefully will encourage other people to do so.”
The pair opened up to each other over a three-course meal courtesy of restaurant chain Zizzi. The aim was to raise the profile of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until May 15.
The brothers want to initiate an important conversation about how everyone has struggled with loneliness at some point in their lives. Zizzi will be hosting three 'in conversation with' episodes focusing on mental health that will be published on the chain's social media channels.
It comes as research from the Mental Health Foundation shows one in two (44 per cent) say feelings of loneliness have made them feel sad, and a quarter of Brits say feeling lonely has made them feel worried or anxious. The longer people feel lonely, the more at risk they are of mental health problems.
Rachel Hendry, marketing director at Zizzi said: “At Zizzi we believe getting round a table with friends lifts us up, puts a smile on our faces, and generally makes us feel a bit more ready to take on whatever life throws our way. We are proud to be supporting our partner The Mental Health Foundation’s #IveBeenThere campaign
Fiona Halton, head of corporate partnerships at Mental Health Foundation said: ‘We are so grateful to our long-standing partner Zizzi for this insightful series, their ongoing support and particularly driving awareness for loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week. Sharing our experiences sends a powerful message to others that we’ve been there too. Loneliness is a universal feeling so this Mental Health Awareness Week we’re creating a universal call to action – to give our campaign the momentum it needs and our community the support it deserves. Through our #IveBeenThere we want to ensure people feel less alone.”
For more information and to seek support, please contact https://www.mentalhealthfoundation.net/