International Men's Day 2019

Michael’s experiences of mental ill health left him feeling hopeless.  Then he was referred to MindWise in Magherafelt, where he was supported in regaining his confidence.

Before moving to Northern Ireland, I had my own company.  I decided to come here on my own and I was offered work in a restaurant and before long, I started to work with a joinery company. In 2012, my mental health started to deteriorate. I had deep depression at this stage and I was hospitalised. I spent three months in hospital.       

I left the hospital and a carer visited me each day. I had lost my job and could not go back into work. I began to lock myself away from the outside world and stayed within the safety of my own home. I was paranoid and scared of the outside world and believed others were talking about me.

In 2014, my key worker through the community mental health team got me a place at MindWise. I was asked what my hobbies were, and what I was good at.  Given my interest in joinery, I was told that MindWise had a fully functioning woodwork shop, so I decided to give it a try.

My first impressions of MindWise was how friendly everyone was.  The atmosphere was great, and though I was very anxious in the beginning, the staff were so supportive that it only took me a few weeks to settle in. I had finally found people that wanted to do something for me and who genuinely cared. I felt safe in this environment.

It wasn’t long before my skills were noticed in the workshop. Staff asked if I would like to volunteer as a woodwork supervisor. This was my biggest step forward from my breakdown, however staff were there to support me. I realised that I could be responsible again, and that maybe I would work again someday. Now I was looking to the future, which is something I thought I would never do again.

The staff told me that with my qualities and strengths, they would support me to enrol on a Level 2 Health and Social Care qualification. One year down the line, I successfully passed and gained my qualification.

Within this time, I was contacted be MindWise’s volunteer coordinator about the prospect of a part time job. Although I was terified, I took on the job, as I knew I had the support behind me. It was a step I had dreamed of. Now I’m working there full time. I have built so much confidence and I am well again. Without MindWise and the people there, I do not believe that I would have gained back the life I have today.

It's International Men's Day.  Almost three quarters of suicides in the UK are men.  If you're struggling with your mental health, you're not alone.  Like Michael, you can find your way back again.  Here are some from Mental Health UK on talking about your mental health.


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