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Lee's Story

I used to hate what I saw of myself in my reflection. Every time I looked in the mirror it was a case of finding the flaws and the imperfections before anything else.

When you are suffering from poor mental wellbeing, reaching out is like a beacon in the fog.  It’s really a shining light to help you find some salvation, find a little bit of rest bite in your suffering.

I think people get concerned by how complex it could be or how much pressure it puts on them but really it’s as simple as watching football on the TV, or spending time with family.

It’s such a simple act but the ripple effect of that can make such a difference to that person’s life.

It’s so difficult for men in particular I think to open up about mental health issues, so to have someone in your life that you can confide in just helps you to feel to just feel normal. 

And that can be the most important thing for someone with a mental health condition – just feeling normal.

These are some of the small things that have helped me. 

I’m Lee and I live with depression.

Minnie's Story

I have an anxiety disorder. It means that sometimes I’ll get stuck on thoughts that I can’t get past, my brain will loop around a single worry until that’s the only thing that I can concentrate on.

It’s like trying to spin 30 different plates at once in your brain whilst carrying on in daily life. Everything becomes that much harder because you’re constantly fighting the noise in your brain. It gets in the way of how you see the world. 

Well reaching out is just having a friend there when you need them. Even when you’re living with a chronic mental health condition or even a short term one, you’re still a person like everyone else. 

You still want your friends around you, you still need your friends. When people reach out to you you know that your friends are still there for you, they still care about you, you still matter to somebody even if you can’t see that yourself. 

It’s really important, it can genuinely make all the difference. It’s the little things that friends do for each other, so whether it’s taking the time to go out for a pint, or even just having a chat on Skype. 

It’s having patience, and letting them know that you understand. It’s no different from what you would do for your friends in any other situation. 

These are some of the small things that have helped me. 

I’m Minnie, and I live with anxiety disorder.

Anya's Story

Sometimes when you’re low you think that no one around you cares or that you’re on your own.

Somebody reaching out and letting you know that you’re not on your own helps immensely.

I’ve always looked up to my Dad, he’s one of my heroes, he’s the king of bad jokes! We’re talking about maybe the problems I have or problems even that Dad has. He says that I’m good at giving advice and I feel the same about him, we help each other. 

I’m someone who loves to laugh and loves making other people laugh. If you can laugh about something it releases all the tension or sadness that you might be feeling and may change your attitude for the day.

If people were to change around me, it would make me feel lost, it would make me feel less like myself. You need those people in your life to remind you that you are still the person that you were before.

There is no set of rules about what you have to do, everybody’s different and different things help different people.

So, reaching out to me is being there for someone. It’s something that anyone can do.

It’s letting someone know you’re there and that you understand.

It’s meeting up and seeing friends.

It’s laughing together.

These are the small things that help me through my day.

I’m Anya and I live with depression.

Matt's Story

Depression can change the way you look at everything, it can, it can make you not want to leave the house, not answer the phone it’s pretty tough.

For me, reaching out has been more of a social thing, I’m lucky that my friends reach out to me. They make sure that I’m out of the house, that we go for meals, or we just, we just chill out, we just hang out, which is a lovely thing.

We have a cinema club which is something I do with my friends, it helps me out a lot, I think it helps everybody, because the cinema is probably one of my favourite places to go.

My trainer looks out for me, he always asks how I am, it’s a really small thing to him, but it means the world to me. He can really help me out if I’m having a bad morning.

Reaching out doesn’t have to be anything huge. I mean it could be something small, something tiny, for me it’s something as simple as a text, a nod of appreciation, at tap on the back, whatever,  just chatting to somebody can help.

All these little things add up, they really help.

It’s all about looking out for each other, I mean, bad days can happen to anyone.

Reaching out can be as simple as letting someone know you’re there.

It’s the small things that make a big difference to people with mental health problems.

I’m Matt and I live with depression.

Andy's Story

It’s essential to make a connection with somebody, somewhere, anywhere will do.

That first contact can make all the difference.

So, people reaching out to me makes me feel safe and protected, because I’m able to talk about what’s going on in my life. That makes a huge difference.

There are so many different ways of contacting people these days, it’s not just reliant upon people being there physically.

Sometimes you all you need is somebody to be there online.

Reaching out to people with a mental health problem is definitely something that we all should be doing.

It’s just the whole thing gets harder and harder for people to survive mental health and it is a battle, it is a battle that will take a lot of energy, but it takes less energy if you have people reaching out to you.

It’s being there for someone, even if it’s just sitting and watching the telly.

It allows you to be yourself. To be valued

It’s having each other’s backs. Just being a friend.

I’m Andy and I have Bi-Polar.

Lisa's Story

Someone reaching out to you at work can make all the difference.

We look at our customers every day and we say you shouldn’t judge a customer when they walk through the door, so the message I put out there was that you shouldn’t judge all of your colleagues as well.

Liz would be worried about me when she was in work so she made a little matchbox and started putting different notes in there every day. Little notes like all the little things I didn’t believe before, but when you’ve got it written there on a little note, it’s just, it’s just that extra little something to mean something to you.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what that means to you but the only thing I can really think is safe. Secure. 

Not just safe at home, not just safe with Liz and the children.  But safe in that I’ve got such a good family and friends support network.  Safe in that, I know that if I feel ill again, they will be there for me again. So, just safe in the future that it’s never going to get that bad again.

For me it’s spending time with family, and spending time with the kids. It’s about having balance, so not being overloaded.

Reaching out is knowing that someone cares. 

These are the small things that help me through my day.

I’m Lisa and I live with pre-natal and post-natal depression.

Naomi's Story

You just feel like you need to be on your own; you don’t want to talk to anyone, and nothing seems to go your way, nothing’s going right.

When people reach out, it gives me hope. It makes me feel that things could get better and that life could improve.

It’s important for me to spend time with my mum, just to go shopping. It’s important that we can have a chat and be together.

Both of us sometimes find life difficult, and it’s important that the two of us get to talk with each other. It can be difficult sometimes, when you discuss sensitive stuff. But it’s important that we know how we feel.

Talking online is hugely important at night, when you’re feeing really low. Being able to reach out to people online who could be in other parts of the world, in America, who are awake so you can chat to them, and that they’re there or you.

It means a lot to me, just knowing that there are people who are ready to listen without judging me; it just makes me feel so much better.

Reaching out is extremely important. It’s something we all need. These are the little things that help me.

My name is Naomi, and I live with anxiety.

Everyone's Story

Reaching out can be as simple as letting someone know you're there.

It's something that anyone can do. It's laughing together.

It's having each others backs - just being a friend.

It's having a network of people that support me and they look out for me no matter where I am.

Small things make a big difference to people with mental health problems.

Reach out to someone you know.

Find out more about the small things you can do at reachout.wales

Mental health problems will affect 1 in 4 people during their lifetime.