I found out my father had ended his life #NoNormal
Jonathan discovered that his father had ended his life before he was born, and now campaigns for better mental health awareness and support for everyone.
Hi, I’m Jonathan and I’m 23 years old. I work for BT on their Graduate scheme and I’m also involved in as many different charities as possible with a very keen interest in mental health. I have played sport for all of my life but now spend a lot of time running, as I’m beginning to train for the 2019 London Marathon, where I’ll be running for Mind!
I found out that my father had ended his life
I had always known that he had died just before I was born, but I didn’t know any of the details. It’s still really difficult for me and my family to discuss. After the discovery of my father’s suicide, it made me think about my own mental health struggles. I feel guilty about my father’s death and have experienced depression.
There isn’t a day when I don’t think about him
I used to go through my life not thinking about mental health. Since I have experienced mental health suffering, I now find more of a connection with him. It’s made me more aware of my feelings, and how important it is to try and manage them, and be as open as I can.
There is a huge stigma about male mental health
Mental ill health isn’t discriminatory at all. It can happen to anyone at any time, no matter how successful or happy they may seem. Currently, I don’t think it’s socially acceptable for men to talk about their mental health, never mind openly admit that they’re struggling.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45
I think this is due to two factors. The first is that men aren’t able to talk about their mental health. The second is that they tend to want to be the ones supporting, rather than being supported, and spend so much time and effort making sure others are ok. They can regularly forget to take care of themselves and their mental health.
Technology can be a force for good, or destructive
Technology means its easy to be connected to anyone at any time, and it gives me options to look for resources. However, constant connectivity can be damaging. I know I use my phone far too much, and often feel lost without it. We are all so dependent on technology. Social media can bring a sense of inadequacy, as we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. We are all worth more than 20 likes; there is a view that you attain your value as a person with the number of likes/followers you have. I think this is dangerous for all young people.
Poor mental health is one of the biggest challenges we face
In my role working across different businesses, I see the impact of mental health. If we can support people in the right way, and prevent mental health issues, it will unlock so much more for individuals and for society as a whole.
Try and find something that clears your mind
Both mental health and suicide are difficult to get your head around. Make sure to find time to unwind and focus on yourself, by doing things like running, video gaming or cooking. It’s important to find an outlet for your feelings, and also remember to talk to someone – it can be anyone! The Mix is a great place to find support – through anonymous forums, online articles or more formalised counselling.
- C.A.L.M (campaign against living miserably) is a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. They have lots of information on their website and run a helpline from five to midnight. 0800 58 58 58
- Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
- Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
- Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.
Updated on 11-Oct-2018
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