Matt came to us for employment support after being diagnosed with depression. After we helped him find voluntary work as a presenter on a community radio station he also now works part-time for us as a community link advisor in Suffolk, using his own recovery experience to inspire others. For our campaigning work around International Men’s Day he spoke about his own battle with depression to encourage other men to open up about their problems.
“Friends always knew me as a happy and positive person on the outside – but on the inside the feeling was the complete opposite. I finally visited my GP because I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning and my morale was at rock bottom. It was one of the most difficult things to do. Why? Because I had to open up to someone I didn’t know and unload my deepest thoughts and feelings.
“You should never be shy talking about your problems, whether it be to a trusted friend, family member or work colleague.”
“My depression affected my health to an extent where I had to leave my main salaried job in retail, but I continued volunteering a few hours a week at various community radio stations. Whilst I was out of work I received support from Richmond Fellowship to find a new paid job, but I was surprised by which job I would end up doing.
“I believe in being honest in any job application; on the form where it says ‘Do you suffer from any health problems’, I’ve no qualms writing that I’ve previously suffered from depression in the box. I’m no longer embarrassed by it. I strongly believe any worthy employer would take me on because of my skills and what I can bring to a job and being honest wouldn’t have a negative impact on my application. However, I do believe there is often quite a lot of stigma still attached to certain health problems – and depression is one of them. I’m still seeking a fully paid role in radio and am optimistic one day, it will happen.”