On World Mental Health Day; it’s good to talk


Back in 2008 I was a young Student Campaigner. As Disabled Students’ officer at the University of Derby Students’ Union I created the H campaign. The premise behind the H campaign was actually inspired by Red Dwarf and the Hologram that is Arnold J Rimmer.

Contrary to popular belief the H was not named after myself, it was in fact a H standing for Hidden. The idea was that nobody actually knows who is Disabled. Therefore people wore badges to signify that they might have a hidden disability.

One strand of the H campaign was actually Stress; depression and Mental health.

This summer, I witnessed a truly inspiring display of strength from someone who I admire a great deal. Sarah Taylor; England’s World Cup winning wicket keeper/Batsman took a year out of the sport due to anxiety and returned to Cricket for the World Cup in England.

She showed great strength of character and put on some amazing performances this summer and for me is possibly the best wicket keeper in the world in Men’s and Women’s Cricket.

Now I have talked before about my own experiences with mental health. I was bullied for many years at school and at work. Bizarrely; Politics is my safe space. Politics is an unforgiving world but it’s indiscriminate in that it’s unforgiving for everybody.

I suffered a bit after my first election defeat but I am big enough and well travelled enough to understand that Politics is a fickle world and that I would bounce back.

The darkest point in my life was being unemployed. I had four years of unemployment and serious issues with self esteem and confidence issues.

On world Mental Health day, I am proud to say that I have got through it and would encourage anyone who is going through mental health issues to talk to someone.