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Jamie's Story: 'It's been two years since I last tried to take my own life'

When I was 15 I wore an inappropriate T-shirt to school – a choice that changed my life forever.

I was part of an extremely close and happy group of mates at school, we all used to hang out after classes, we werenโ€™t the best behaved, but we didnโ€™t get up to anything out of the ordinary. That day, because of that T-shirt, I was held back at school and couldnโ€™t see my mates. They were all calling and messaging asking when I could meet them, but I couldnโ€™t get out of detention. Twenty minutes after a phone call with him, my close friend had an asthma attack and died on the street.

I blamed myself and my mental health took a beating. I turned to alcohol, drugs and self-harming. My drug habit became so bad that I was stealing from my parents to feed the addiction.

A family friend found me in the school toilets self-harming and thatโ€™s when my parents intervened and took me to the GP. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and psychosis. You would think a diagnosis would help my mental health however, I was a teenager and a cocky one at that, so my behaviour became even worse as I had an excuse, I would act out and justify it.

Following school, I jumped from job to job and even though I am only 26, I have had over 20 positions. While working at the citizens advice bureau, we received mental health first aid training, and this was the breakthrough I had been searching for. Being educated on mental health and mental health problems and understanding the difference between conditions was such an eye-opener for me.

Iโ€™ve seen numerous counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists and have tried loads of medication, but nothing would help – the mental health first aid course did, I realised that through helping others, I could help myself.

Every job I had after that didnโ€™t seem to fulfil me, the need to help others struggling with mental health only grew stronger. This realisation led me to quit a very well-paid job and start my new venture, Problem Halved.

Even though my relationship crumbled when I left the big money, which ordinarily would have caused me to spiral, I could recognise that I wasnโ€™t sinking into depression, but I was down, and that was okay. This also made me throw myself even more into Problem Halved.

Although opening up about our mental health problems has improved, we still have a long way to go. Only yesterday I lost another friend to suicide and two weeks before him, a family friend took his own life.

Itโ€™s been two years since I last tried to take my own life. I have found that music is a great outlet for me and I write songs and play the guitar regularly. Football is also a major passion and I am lucky enough to be a season ticket holder.

The dream is to make Problem Halved a registered charity and include walking groups, talking therapies, diet and nutrition and peer-to-peer support. I never want to look back on this life with regrets and if I can help even one person, I know I have made a difference.

For more information on how to access mental health support for you or a loved,ย visit our designated page.

To get involved with Be A Game Changer programmes
Email ashley.lowe@nufc.co.uk

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