I wanted to end my life. But help is out there

Lee Watts was so des­per­ately low, he tried to take his own life. Four years later and he has an im­por­tant mes­sage for oth­ers. The Tele­graph has teamed up with Mind, the men­tal health char­ity, to fea­ture a se­ries of ar­ti­cles mark­ing this week’s World Menta

Coventry Telegraph - - HEALTH MATTERS -

DON’T bot­tle it up, talk to some­one about it. Help is out there.” That’s the mes­sage from Lee Watts, of Rugby, who at­tempted to take his own life four years ago.

It’s a hugely im­por­tant mes­sage and one that men­tal health char­ity Mind is keen to share – es­pe­cially among men, given that sui­cide is the big­gest killer of men aged un­der 45 across the UK.

The char­ity is a part­ner in the de­liv­ery of It Takes Balls to Talk, a cam­paign at sports events across Coven­try and War­wick­shire which aims to get men talk­ing about men­tal health.

Lee was among the It Takes Balls to Talk cam­paign­ers at the Ri­coh Arena last month for the Wasps vs Har­lequins match.

He spoke about his ex­pe­ri­ences to show any­one who might feel like he once did that there is a way for­ward with the right sup­port. Speak­ing of his des­per­a­tion at the time, Lee, 27, said: “I’d not long left col­lege, been let out into the real world, and was look­ing for a job but was un­able to find one.

“There had also been a few deaths in the fam­ily, which didn’t help my feel­ings of iso­la­tion, lone­li­ness and des­per­a­tion.

“I’d felt des­per­ately low and tried to take my own life in Oc­to­ber 2013 be­cause I saw no other op­tion and no other way to turn.”

Lee im­me­di­ately told his mum and went on to get help through a GP and coun­selling, and then be­gan at­tend­ing the Rugby Well­be­ing Hub in Cromwell Road. This is one of sev­eral in the area run by Coven­try and War­wick­shire Mind to of­fer free drop-in sup­port ser­vices for any­one who needs it.

Things are look­ing up for Lee, who is help­ing oth­ers as a Peer Sup­porter at the Hub.

He is due to start a de­gree in coun­selling and is phys­i­cally health­ier than he has ever been, hav­ing lost 10st through reg­u­lar ex­er­cise since his sui­cide at­tempt.

He said: “The Well­be­ing Hub helped be­cause I was around other peo­ple, peo­ple like me, and I knew I wasn’t alone. It helped me grow in con­fi­dence.

“The per­son I am now is very dif­fer­ent to who I was then.

“My mes­sage to any­one feel­ing the same as I did is this – don’t bot­tle it up, talk to some­one about it. Let it all out. Help is out there.”

Sui­cide kills more adults in Coven­try and War­wick­shire than road traffic ac­ci­dents.

The latest fig­ures from Pub­lic Health Eng­land show that in War­wick­shire, 175 died by sui­cide be­tween 2013 and 2015.

And Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics fig­ures re­veal that be­tween 2005 and 2015, some 320 Coven­try res­i­dents took their own lives – about 32 per year on av­er­age.

Coven­try and War­wick­shire Mind works to tackle the stigma and si­lence on the sub­ject.

Kay St Clair, Coven­try and War­wick­shire Mind’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said: “We are proud of Lee for shar­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence and are de­lighted that he has joined us in work­ing for the char­ity, as we strive to en­sure no one feels they have to face a men­tal health prob­lem alone, be­cause one sui­cide is one too many.”

Lee has pro­duced a se­ries of videos de­tail­ing the thoughts of those clos­est to him as they re­flect on his sui­cide at­tempt. The videos are on YouTube – search ‘Lee from Coven­try and War­wick­hire Mind’ to find Lee’s story: Parts 1, 2 and 3 – as well as cw­mind.org.uk.

Coven­try and War­wick­shire Mind is af­fil­i­ated to Mind, the lead­ing men­tal health char­ity for Eng­land and Wales, and forms part of the Lo­cal Mind net­work. The char­ity of­fers free sup­port to peo­ple across Coven­try and War­wick­shire and its mis­sion is to pro­vide qual­ity ser­vices, re­duce stigma and pro­mote pos­i­tive men­tal health and well­be­ing.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about Coven­try and War­wick­shire Mind is avail­able at cw­mind.org.uk and It Takes Balls to Talk at it­takes­ball­stotalk.com

The It Takes Balls To Talk cam­paign at the Ri­coh Arena last month and above, Lee Watts is in a much bet­ter place to­day

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