Our colleague, Billy Gilbert, has taken a brave step to help  #breakthestigma of mental health. Billy’s story is an important reminder that we are all human and we need to look out for ourselves and each other. Help is out there:

“In March of this year I found myself on the platform at Liverpool Street station ready to jump in front of the next train that was coming.

Looking back, it all started in the September of the previous year when my dad was taken into hospital and was given 6 to 12 months to live. I was at the hospital every day, dealing with consultants, nurses & social workers but not talking about how I was feeling.

After a few months, in March, it felt like somebody had just flicked a switch in my head – I had never experienced anything like it before. It was a crippling feeling of loneliness even though I had people in my life that I knew I could rely on and go to.

At that point I felt like I was the only person in the world and that there was no way out. I went to Liverpool Street station to jump in front of the next train that arrived. However, if it wasn’t for an old lady that stopped me and asked if I was ok, I don’t know if I would’ve jumped or not. Thankfully, I managed to phone for help.

The hardest thing was talking about the way I felt and the realisation that it wasn’t just the period that I had gone through with my dad in hospital. I learned from counselling that I have many years of unresolved issues.

During the months that followed I had the crisis team visit me at home every day to talk, see if I was okay, and guide me in the right direction. I was lucky enough to have huge support from my colleagues, they were fantastic in the way that they dealt with me. I felt reassured that I was liked at work and all they wanted was for me to get better.

It can seem quite a small thing but talking does help when you’re feeling quite low and alone. I went to see a counsellor and I continue to have weekly sessions. There is a stigma attached to mental health, especially men, that talking is a weakness and people feel embarrassed because of this.

It is the complete opposite. Opening up is the one hurdle we need to get over in order to face our problems and this opens a whole new perspective for change and resolution. I would strongly urge anyone that is struggling, to talk about the way they feel. There are too many people feeling lonely or feeling like they have no one to turn to and I learned there is always somebody there to talk to.”