A FORMER postman from Chesterfield who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder five years ago has spoken of how campaigning for the rights of people with mental health problems has helped him to manage his own illness.
Michael Crossley, aged 47, received support from a Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire community service run by national charity, Rethink Mental Illness.
“They gave me the confidence to realise I could rebuild my life after many years of difficulty,” he said.
“Since then I’ve been getting involved with their campaigns.
“We’re challenging recent changes to the welfare system and trying to raise awareness of the impact it’s having on local people with mental illness.
“I’m also part of a project to encourage local health service commissioners to take action on the fact that people with mental illness die 20 years younger than the general population, from physical illnesses that could be avoided,” said Michael.
Philomena Temple, Rethink Mental Illness service lead in Chesterfield, said: “One per cent of the population suffers bipolar disorder. Michael has shown real resilience in facing his illness and turning it into something positive in his life.”