A FLINTSHIRE man has spoken openly about his experiences with mental health as part of a campaign to get more men talking about the subject.

To coincide with men’s health awareness month this November, Time to Change Wales has relaunched the ‘Talking is a Lifeline’ campaign with a series of videos.

The campaign aims to empower men to open up about their own struggles and emphasise that talking about mental health is one of the bravest things a man can do.

Darren Morris, 37, from Flintshire walks along the River Dee in his video and talks about how stress in the workplace affected his mental health.

He said: “It was 2018 and I led on events that we run every year. We had 10 events to run over a matter of a few weeks. We had to cancel a lot of them due to snow and this was met with pressure from stakeholders to find alternative arrangements. I started to suffer from nosebleeds and became physically sick and before I knew it, I was in a very dark and scary place.

“I contacted my manager to tell her that I was struggling and that I wasn’t sure what to do. I just unexpectedly burst into tears. My manager was worried and advised me to visit my GP as this was totally out of character.

“I visited my doctor, who diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. I was signed off from work and became increasingly withdrawn and isolated. Though, that was what I needed to reflect on myself. After taking some time off, I decided to build up the courage and head back into work and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was determined to not let my depression and low self-esteem hold me back.”


The Leader:

Pictured; Darren Morris

New research on public attitudes surrounding mental illness in Wales was commissioned by Time to Change Wales and included a question on knowing someone with a mental health problem. This found that just 29 per cent of men report that they know someone with a mental health problem, and that men are less likely to feel comfortable discussing their own mental health with friends or family.

More than half of men who reported feeling very depressed (55 per cent) said they talked to someone about it.

Furthermore, the findings estimate that the cost of mental health problems in Wales to be at £7.2 billion a year in loss of output, healthcare bills and social benefits; which is why there is both a strong moral and business case to step up and create more mentally healthy workplaces.

June Jones, campaign and strategy lead for Time to Change Wales, said: “Many men find it difficult to talk about their own mental health problem due to the stigma and discrimination that they face in society. It is important to not feel ashamed or embarrassed if you think you may have a mental health problem. Talk to someone who you trust; a friend, family member or GP.

“If you are worried about a male friend or loved one, start a conversation, and ask the question, ‘are you alright?’ and be prepared to listen.”

Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign that focuses on reducing the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems in Wales fronted by two of Wales’ leading mental health charities - Hafal and Mind Cymru.

The Time to Change Wales website has a list of contact details for helplines that can provide support for those experiencing mental health problems.