I suffered with my own mental health for years - now I'm speaking up

Posted by / Wednesday 10 May 2017 / Young people
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Aaron has suffered with his own mental health for the past 6 years. Things came to a head just after Christmas last year when he almost attempted suicide. 

Aaron managed to climb up out of that dark place and since then has been inspired to set up a campaign called brotectors, encouraging young men to have the courage to speak out about their mental health problems. We know how important addressing mental health is for children and young people, so we spoke to Aaron to find out more about his campaign.

I set it up originally because when I was struggling with depression and my own mental health issues, I found nothing online I could take inspiration from. There was stuff on websites out there but it didn’t really strike a chord with myself. The websites all felt mundane and all just say “go and see a doctor”, but for a lot of guys that’s not an option because guys struggle talking about it.

So I set it up 3 months ago now to raise awareness and try to inspire people to get help. Whether it’s friends or family or going to see a doctor, just to get over that stage of trying to hide away from people is a big step.

For me it all came to a head last year when I was going to try to commit suicide, just after Christmas. I had a breakdown. I had suffered with this for about 6 years but I kept the extent of it hidden away. I mean, when I first told my dad he said go to the doctor. He didn’t know how bad it was. I would tend to cut everyone off and not speak to anyone and not answer my phone. I would just lock myself in my room.

 

"Whether it’s friends or family or going to see a doctor, just to get over that stage of trying to hide away from people is a big step."

Aaron Corria, founder of Brotectors

After it happened I moved home back to my dad’s for a week. It gave me time to regroup and I went to the doctors. Admitting that I had it was the hard part. I would try and brush it under the carpet and wouldn’t take on board that I was struggling. But when I admitted I did need help and did need to sort this out, that’s when things started to get better.

When I got found the courage to get the right support network around me it was like a huge weight off my shoulder.

I’m hoping the campaign will help stop other people getting to that point and it will help them be able to turn to friends or family. 

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Since starting the campaign, I’ve had around 1000 messages from people in the same boat. I’ve had messages from guys in Texas, Australia - that’s the power of social media! I would have been happy if I could just help one person, and it seems to have done more than that. It feels amazing that people are taking inspiration from it. I’m trying to help people by using myself as an example.

A lot of guys struggle with this, and they think by asking for help it’s a weakness, but asking for help is a sign of strength. So if somebody has the courage to ask for help, that’s the kind of strength they need to show they want to try and beat it.

I’m big guy with tattoos and that’s the stigma attached to it, you know? I come from a sporting background and you’d be surprised how many guys suffer in silence. I’m around guys who play a lot of sports and go to the gym and I know there are a lot of guys who are suffering in silence. A lot of them are too proud or embarrassed to speak up and get some form of support. I believe one day there won’t be a stigma attached mental health but we are definitely heading in the right direction.

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