My name is Mike and I have to manage my mental health just like you.
I was diagnosed with depression at 18, struggled with anxiety throughout my twenties and had a mental breakdown just before I was 30. Since then I’ve been learning all about myself and managing my mental health by focusing on understanding and expressing my feelings.
This has changed everything for me and given my life a new direction and purpose. As part of my growth, I was desperate to connect with others to share my experiences but couldn’t find what I was looking for.
So I created it myself in 2017 when Talk About It Mate was born!
The principles of Courage, Compassion and Connection run through my personal journey and guide me with all that I do. Firstly, I showed Courage to want to make a change in my circumstances, which led to adopting a Self-Compassionate approach to my thoughts, feelings and actions. Next, I then began to project my compassionate qualities outward to others with the creation of this group. Finally, I have reached a stage where I regularly use Connection to present an authentic, organic and empowered version of myself.
This journey has taken me in a new career direction from Primary School Teacher to Counsellor, with plenty in between. I use my own experiences to inspire me to help others understand theirs.
My issues with mental health became apparent when I started university aged 18 and dropped out due to depression, but they began much earlier. I struggled throughout my twenties to deal with worry, stress and ultimately anxiety making me deeply unhappy and affecting my confidence, self-esteem and resulting in weight-gain. I began drinking more and became deeply frustrated, experiencing problems in both my career and relationships, culminating in a traumatic mental breakdown in 2015.
Since then, I have made significant changes to my life, while overcoming setbacks, of which I am incredibly proud. I became healthier, found a caring and supportive partner, began my Counselling studies and created and founded Talk About It Mate after I shared my experiences in a blog post. I am unashamedly open, authentic, honest and inspiring – the embodiment of what I know Talk About It Mate can achieve. I am finally discovering who I am as a person and being true to myself as I learn and strive for personal growth and enhanced mental fitness. I know I can inspire positive change in others by being my authentic self.
My initial aim was to understand myself by helping others, however before long I realised that I could potentially help others make sense of their own experiences. I thought if I could help just one person it would be a success!
Now Talk About It Mate is a thriving a multi-faceted community, which has grown into a Social Enterprise with a fantastic opportunity to change the way we approach mental health on a personal and societal scale. Our expanded offer now includes workshops and facilitation, peer-support safe talk spaces, mental health education in schools as well as counselling services.