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Mental ill-health does not discriminate

Anyone can be affected at any time and it does not matter how old you are, what you look like, or how much money you have.

The latest figures estimate 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any one year, and Paul Thompson is one of them.

“My background was very comfortable,” says Paul.

“I had an excellent upbringing, a great education, from the outside looking in I was pretty successful.

“I graduated from great universities, reached the top of my career at a relatively early stage and materialistically I had all the toys, a brand new BMW, a suit for every day of the month and all the latest Apple devices. All materialistically good.

“However the wheels fell off in Summer 2015 when I was sectioned in a mental health hospital and diagnosed with clinical depression.

“I had been mentally unwell for probably five or six years and during that period became self-destructive and did a lot of things that I remain embarrassed by. I realise now these were coping mechanisms.

“Everything stopped, I couldn’t carry on and I made six attempts to end my life. Police found me living rough, unable to talk. I hadn’t eaten for days and I was sectioned for six months at a cost of £400 a day, £67,000 for my total stay.

“But there were great staff doing excellent work under pressure and I learned a lot during that very expensive stay in hospital. It gave me the space to recover.

“How did I get there? I now know I was ill-equipped for life, working too hard with no-one keeping an eye on me, physically unhealthy and stagnating.

“All of this could have been avoided if I had maintained my mental resilience.

“I was lucky; I have a very good GP who understands mental health and found other solutions rather than just medication. I also had a great social worker once I left hospital who was exceptionally supportive and focused on getting me back to being independent.”

Last year Paul attended a five-day Managing Depression course through the Recovery & Wellbeing Academy. The Academy, run by Coventry and Warwickshire Mind in partnership with other organisations, offers a wide range of courses that complement existing services provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.

“This course gave me the tools to manage my diagnosis,” says Paul.

“I found the content empowering with constructive tools and learning on positively managing my condition.

“With great facilitation by our trainer, there was opportunity to discuss and share with others experiences and what works for them.

“I cannot speak highly enough about the value of courses like these. People can and do recover from mental health issues when given the right tools and skills.

“I feel confident now that I can spot early signs and manage episodes of depression and am hopeful that I will not need the excellent but expensive resources of a mental health hospital in future.

“I volunteer full-time for Springfield Mind and this has been a huge part of my recovery. Helping others with tools I learned on the course also helps improve my mental resilience.

“Subsequently, Mind has invested in me so I am qualified as a Mental Health First Aid trainer.

“Mental health is something we all have but it’s never permanent as we move throughout life through good times and difficult times.

“We all deserve help and support with our mental health and people do not need to suffer in silence.”

For more information about Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and the Recovery & Wellbeing Academy visit www.cwmind.org.uk

To discover more about Springfield Mind visit www.springfieldmind.org.uk

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"The Support I received helped me enormously. Thanks so much."