Men’s Health Week – A Personal Account

The date was February 20th, 2020, and I was finally ready to open up to a wider audience regarding a personal experience. I was keen to speak about the excellent supports I had found that were available to those in a similar situation. I wasn’t prepared or expecting to hear what I heard following that talk, but before I detail that, I will share the speech that I gave on the off change it resonates with some of you. 

Today we will do a social experiment – take your smart phones out, take a picture of the screen [a telephone number was showing on the only slide I would present] and now send that picture to anyone in this organisation.

What everyone in the room wasn’t aware of was that the telephone number was a service available to them of an external counselling phone help line. I waited until I could see everyone was sending the picture.  When the time felt right, I stepped forward and continued. 

2 years ago, I was in a dark place.  I couldn’t sleep at night, although when I did sleep, I would wake up exhausted.  I was struggling with life, and I needed to speak to someone.  Thankfully I was sent the image you see behind me by 2 of my very close friends who are here today.  It is a counselling help line, that you all have available to you today.

There was silence and everyone was captivated as they realised this wasn’t a ‘fun’ experiment I had maybe made it out to be.  I continued. 

Following this talk, I give you the permission to share my story.  2 years ago, I went through a relationship break up and at the same time had another breakdown of a relationship with a family member.  I didn’t know what I was thinking, I didn’t know what I wanted, I couldn’t think straight, and I was exhausted.  All that I knew was that I couldn’t continue as I was. 

Thankfully the person who I ended up making contact with, from the phone number you have just sent, helped me get back on track.  The number you have saved in your phone helped me achieve awards and national recognition that year and the subsequent year.  This number was a savour to me, and I want it to be available to you all at any time that you feel the need to speak with someone.  It is completely confidential and in fact our MD is only aware of this story today as I stand and speak here, so I assure you that your conversations are dealt with in the strictest confidence. 

What I want you to do is now explain to that person you have just sent a picture message to, the one who has probably just replied asking “What is this?”  I want you to share my story as it may just help them one day.