In our hectic, fast paced, modern world, life can sometimes feel overwhelming. With the constant pressures of social media, the state of the environment and the cost of living crisis; it can feel like negativity can spiral out of control. To the point where our brains just don’t know when to stop.
Suicide. The scary word that no one wants to talk about. BUT, it is so important to address your feelings and always talk to someone. No matter how hard it feels.
For #worldsuicidepreventionday on 10th September, we are focusing on our charity partner Mid & North East Essex Mind. Who help children, young adults and adults living with a mild to moderate mental health problem.
We are sharing Simon’s story. The Social Media Manager at Harwich & Parkeston Football Club, describes his own journey with depression. He details how he experienced thoughts of suicide at very low points. Then, later describes how getting involved with community football made a huge impact on his life.
In January 2020, Simon was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, which later developed into panic attacks and paranoia. He got some help from his doctors at the time. The reason he developed depression was because of a hectic period in his life, where he moved house, changed jobs twice, and had a small operation, all in the space of three months.
After having the opportunity to get involved with the football community, he managed to turn it around. He heard that Harwich were looking for someone to take their social media to the next level, he applied for the position and was accepted. He now has some great ideas on and off the field for social media to take the club forward.
At one point, things got pretty bad for Simon, that he considered ending his life.
His family could see that he wasn’t well, but they didn’t really know how. They wanted him to make the first step, to come out and realise that he had a problem.
The challenges he struggles with is the stereotype that all men should be strong. Men shouldn’t cry, men should be seen as strong family members and not talk about their feelings.
But, Simon says that it takes a real man to cry. He has cried many times, he has had good support from family, friends and the football community that support him.
He is very open and honest with everyone. He talks about his mental health; he is not ashamed by it. Since he’s spoken out, a lot of his male friends and counterparts have actually come up to him and said ‘I’m struggling with this’ or ‘I’m struggling with that’. So, he wanted to get the word out there that it is ok for men to talk about mental health and that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Simon’s advice to anyone that is struggling is to talk to someone. Talk to your GP. If you can’t talk to a GP, give the Samaritans or Mind a call, just reach out to anyone, just ask for help. He wants to get his story out there so more people in the game can see it is ok to talk about it, and try and spread awareness of mental health. He would like people to feel open and honest with themselves. To talk to someone if they are struggling, before it’s too late. Football made a huge difference in Simon’s life, maybe there could be something that could help you too?
Simon’s story illuminates the importance of opening up about your feelings. But, he is not alone. A make a smile lottery player, who plays to support Mid & North East Essex Mind, joined the lottery because he had a friend that recently committed suicide. When asked why he chose to support the charity he said the below:
“I recently lost a friend to suicide, maybe if they had known you were about it could have saved him.”
Suicide could affect us all at any point in our lives. Which makes it so important that we address it and talk about it when we feel the need. It could be the one thing that makes a difference in someone’s life.
If you are experiencing any difficulties with your mental health and need support, or want to find out more information on the fantastic work Mid & North East Essex Mind do, head to their website.