East Kilbride News - - NEWS -

An­drea O’Neill

As mil­lions of con­ver­sa­tions took place about men­tal health on Time to Talk Day, one East Kil­bride man bravely spoke out about his own di­ag­no­sis.

Liam Rankin, 49, was first di­ag­nosed with schizophre­nia when he was a teenager, but re­vealed he was told not to talk about what he was go­ing through.

Now, as part of men­tal health char­ity See Me’s Time to Talk aware­ness cam­paign, Liam is seek­ing to help oth­ers ex­pe­ri­enc­ing psy­chosis.

Speak­ing can­didly about how a wall of si­lence ef­fec­tively led him to self-harm and suf­fer an over­dose, West Mains man Liam said: “I al­ways thought I couldn’t tell any­one about my schizophre­nia, that it wasn’t some­thing I should talk about.

“So I ended up self-harm­ing and over­dos­ing to try and get peo­ple to ask me how I was. If no one asks you how you are then it is so much harder to talk about it.

“I grew up in a gen­er­a­tion when this was treated like a dirty se­cret. I felt re­ally iso­lated, when you can’t speak about what’s go­ing on you lose ev­ery­one, you don’t think any­one will un­der­stand.

“If I could have spo­ken out and got proper help when I was younger then it could have made a huge dif­fer­ence. Early in­ter­ven­tion is vi­tal and you need to be able to talk to do that.”

Two-thirds of peo­ple in Scot­land (67 per cent) feel they have no-one to talk to when it comes to men­tal health.

In a bid to change this, foot­ballers, ac­tors, co­me­di­ans, ac­tivists and politi­cians, in­clud­ing First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon, have come to­gether to start a con­ver­sa­tion and help bring about an end to men­tal health stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

With the help of his men­tal health team, Liam is now see­ing the dif­fer­ence talk­ing can make.

He is now in­volved in a project speak­ing to med­i­cal staff about in­ter­ven­tions with peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing psy­chosis.

Liam added: “Talk­ing has made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence.

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