KATE Stevenson was only 11 when she began to self-harm, and 14 years on she wants to raise £10,000 to help support others in her situation.

The 25-year-old from Redhouse spent her childhood and teenage years struggling through bouts of depression which saw her in and out of The Priory Hospital in Bristol until she had a psychotic episode in 2009.

Towards the end of 2009 she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Now, Kate is hoping to raise money for mental health charity MIND and raise awareness of the stigma facing people suffering with mental health issues.

She said: “I was lucky enough to be able to have a lot of my treatment privately, but I met a lot of other people when I was in hospital who didn’t have that chance and could only see a psychiatrist every six months.

“But MIND do a lot of work to help people who need it, and they need the support.”

Kate said that living with mental illnesses is bad enough, but sometimes telling others can be more difficult.

“I think sometimes people think that just because you have mental health issues you could be dangerous. Like there was a costume on sale for someone in a lunatic asylum and it was someone carrying an axe, and it’s just not like that.

“There just isn’t enough understanding and something really needs to be done, which is why I’ve decided to speak out and joined the Time To Change Campaign.

“i really think more should be done to improve mental health services and end the stigma.”

Kate has now teamed up with her best friend and Capita events organiser colleague Chloe Thomas to arrange a number of events to help hit their ambitious target.

The first will take place on July 5 at Swindon Rugby Club in Greenbridge, where there will be a family fun day featuring stalls and activities including pony rides, go karts, penalty shoot outs and a raffle as well as a chance to win a mini.

There will also be a hog roast, ice cream van and a bar.

Later in the year there will also be a charity ball held at the Blunsdon House Hotel.

To support Kate and Chloe, donate money to their cause online at their Virgin Giving page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/swindongirls.

To find out more about the Blunsdon House Hotel ball, or to book tickets, email bhhball@outlook.com.

Those who think they or someone close to them may be suffering with a mental health issue can seek advice from the Priory Hopital.  For more information vist http://www.priorygroup.com/mental-health/depression.