'It is really important to talk about' - South Yorkshire dad using own battle with mental health issues to help others

“It took me years to admit it to myself.”

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:45 am

Adam Gill, 34, from Chapeltown has struggled with mental health problems for most of his life, but finally sought help for it last year.

After finally accepting he had a problem, the father of three decided to seek medical help and also told his wife and best mate.

“They didn’t really understand but I knew they wanted to be there for me,” he says.

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Adam Gill.

“I think a lot of men would rather not speak to anyone about this kind of thing full stop.

“But it is really important to talk about it.”

He added: “When I was younger it started with feelings of worthlessness and anxiety and gradually over time developed into depression.

“But it is good that mental health is becoming more of a thing to talk about. It is more common than people think."

Adam currently takes medication for his illness, but has struggled with the stigma of relying on pills to feel okay.

“When I first went on them I felt I had failed as a man and I took myself off them mainly out of shame,” he says.

“But I was seriously considering self-harm and I knew I needed to do something for the sake of my kids.”

Since then, Adam has set up a online blog, and runs a Facebook page for other men in similar situations.

He says he has come up against resistance from some he knows because of the brutal honesty of his writing, but says this won’t deter him.

One post talks about him watching the Oscar-nominated film Joker, and his own struggles with ‘putting on a happy face’ for other people to mask his internal turmoil.

He started writing the blog after attending a stress management course arranged by his doctor where the idea of putting your thoughts down on paper was discussed.

“I started writing things down and quite liked it, so I decided to type it out on the computer and eventually put it on a blog,” he says.

“I tried to think about a subject which made me really emotional and for me it was my first anxiety attack.

“It was a self-help thing but if I can help someone else at the same time then all the better.

“If I can save one person’s life then it’s job done.”

Adam’s blog has since been seen 1,500 times by 800 different people, and his Facebook group currently has 150 members from all over the UK.

Recently, the group have set up meetings, where members can come and share their stories face to face.

“When we meet up I always say if people just want to listen that is absolutely fine - it can be extremely raw in there,” he says.

“We get anything and everything from rubbish days to sexual abuse. I have had messages from people who say they are not ready to meet in person yet.

“At the group and on Facebook I always tell people to invite others, but they say they don’t know anyone who is struggling with mental health problems.

“But I always say to them: ‘Do you know any men’ - because you can guarantee some of them are.”

Long term, Adam says he would like to devote more time to helping others improve their mental health.

“People say what I’m doing is amazing but I just see myself as a normal guy,” he says, modestly.

“I am not into self-promotion but I have a story and I think I can help other people.

“I can’t stress enough I am not a professional, but I don’t mind listening.”

Adam’s blog can be found at www.adadsmind.wordpress.com and his Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/adadsmind.

Adam will also be writing a regular feature in The Star based on his experiences. If you have a story you would like to share please contact us at [email protected].