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 weren’t the best behaved, but we didn’t get up to anything out of the ordinary. That day, because of that T-shirt, I was held back at school and couldn’t see my mates. They were all calling and messaging asking when I could meet them, but I couldn’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 that’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.
I’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 didn’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 wasn’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.
It’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.
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