From rock bottom to a Mental Health First Aid England trainer – A personal story by Chris Murray

It was July 2016 and I was taken to hospital because I was suicidal. I’d struggled with my mental health for 20 years, never fully opening up or receiving the right diagnosis and treatment.

I came out age 21 and a few years later moved from the North East to London, part of the reason was to live somewhere which was a much more diverse city where I felt there was less stigma and discrimination.

Since July 2016, I continue to manage my mental health on a daily basis, having been diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety and OCD, taking anti depressants as part of managing my conditions and on and off therapy with psychiatrists. I am a qualified Mental Health First Aid England Instructor, and deliver training and talk about my story and Mental Health to try and raise awareness of the importance of talking and seeking help if needed. I have delivered a talk to employers from around the U.K. at a conference where I talked about being gay and a Mental Health patient to highlight some of the similarities and how identifying as LGBT+ can increase chances of poor mental health.

Minority groups are more prone to developing and living with poor mental health due to other stigma and discrimination. In the workplace around 70% of LGBT+ have experienced poor mental health. It’s vitally important for the LGBT+ community to continue to raise the profile around Mental Health and seeking help – and keeping it high on the agenda. Organisations like MindOut are key to achieving this as they are specifically targeted at the LGBT+ community offering integrated services and support where someone may feel more comfortable and more likely to contact, than an organisation that isn’t aimed at LGBT+, crucially saving lives and helping LGBT+ people to manage and improve their Mental Health.

dog and person crouching down
Oscar and Chris (photo: Chris Murray)
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