Before and after pictures of Katie Stephenson’s charity fundraiser.

 A Teesside woman has raised hundreds of pounds for charity after she shaved her hair to raise money for Mental Health Research UK.

Katie Stephenson decided to fundraise for this charity to raise awareness about mental health and to help break down the barriers which face people suffering with mental health conditions.

Originally, Katie aimed to raise £100 through her Just Giving page, but she surpassed this target in under 24 hours.

Her final total came to over £800.

Katie, 19, is from Redcar and is hoping to attend University next year to study Film and Television Production.

She said: “My family and I involve ourselves in fundraising every year in May for ME awareness month but I decided I wanted to shift focus this year and do something for a mental health charity. I’ve struggled with my mental health for years and have been having a rough time recently.

“When it came to getting treatment, I found that I was being passed around by medical professionals who didn’t know what to do with me. I felt helpless and frustrated for myself and everyone else who struggles getting treatment so in an attempt to help improve mental health services, I chose to fundraise for Mental Health Research UK which specifically fund research into the causes of mental health issues and treatments for them.”

The shave was streamed across social media channels, allowing supporters to watch it for themselves and get involved.

Katie shaved 17 inches of hair off in order to raise money.

Mental Health Research UK raise funds for mental health illnesses, from causes to cures.

They use at least 95% of all donations to fund research into mental health conditions.

Before the shave, Katie posted on social media throughout Mental Health Awareness Week informing people about various mental health conditions to start conversations around the sometimes taboo topic.

Katie said: “On the whole, I want to make a difference. Not only using money but also by raising awareness. Although mental health is becoming more talked about within society and media, I definitely think there is still a stigma attached to mental health conditions.

I decided it was time for me to open up about my mental health, even though I was very anxious and cautious about doing so, in the hope of helping others to feel less ashamed and more comfortable seeking help for their problems from both professionals and loved ones.

If what I’m doing helps to start even just one conversation about mental health and leads to someone receiving the support they need, it’s worth it.”

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