Publicity has been central to raising awareness of the issue and bringing the conversation about mental health forward. Social media channels, campaigns and key celebrity figures have highlighted this change in thinking, which continues to be overlooked by the government.
I didn't realise I had a mental health before 2009. This was probably one of the hardest of times of my life. I hit a crisis when there was a death in the family and I simply didn't know how to cope. I broke down crying. I was angry and upset and I didn't know how to deal with how I felt. I just knew that I wanted to escape those feelings. The hurt. The anger. The loss. The pain.
We are living in a world obsessed with perfectionism and image, but isn't it time we stopped the role playing and tell ourselves and each other, that actually it's OK to not be OK?
Back when I was 18 I lost my Dad to suicide. He was stable in his career, was loved by his family, friends, and most importantly looked after himself. He had a psychology degree, was a keen athlete, physiotherapist and read a lot of self help books.
I would love to be able to write how joyous I am that Christmas is around the corner but I'd be lying. I feel like I'm falling down the rabbit hole. I had this depression exactly at this time of year last year (after a gap of seven years). I think my mind is recalling what happened a year ago which triggered me into a mental whirlwind of despair...
Being able to admit that you need anti-depressants and ask for the help, let alone openly talk about it, makes you a strong person in itself and mental health needs to start being taken as seriously as physical illness so people are encouraged to feel comfortable with it.
My brother and I saw Dad a few weeks prior to his death. We watched Star Trek: Into Darkness and he was fine; he looked good and appeared happy. I always thought of comedy as a way to help the healing process and to make awful things seem less awful, so I sometimes joke about how the movie was so bad it drove my father to suicide.
Winter puts enormous pressure on the NHS as common mild infections spread rapidly and demand for healthcare soars.
Men are far less positive about getting formal emotional support for the issues outlined above. Worryingly, in response to these difficulties, men are more likely to take risks such as drinking, fighting or gambling, trying to show that they are 'manly' when faced with adversity. In fact, this is likely to make their situation worse. The masculine ideal suggests that men should never be depressed, anxious or unable to cope. It is vital that we overcome this and encourage men to access informal and formal support earlier on, before they reach crisis point. With all this in mind, where do we go from here?
With so many male voices screaming their opinions into their keyboards, it's easy to see important issues get lost in the cacophony of nonsense. Serious issues become buried in self-important retorts and pissing contests. However, some issues are slowly managing to creep out into the daylight.
Being a man in society, it feels like you mustn't talk about emotions. Well I say f*** that. You're a human. You can do what you want (if legally correct...) You don't need to conform to the cake-cutter world that says men build things and women cook things. Men eat steak and women have salad. You don't need to be sad and quiet. Be sad and be loud. Be unhappy and be in a doctors' clinic demanding professional help. I don't know how, but I demanded it. I found strength in myself and didn't let anyone tell me that "you'll probably just be fine, you know?" Find someone who will listen.
The upside of depression is it can give you an opportunity to have a heightened awareness of another' s suffering, whether it is feeling alone, uncared for, unloved or unsafe. You can now fully appreciate the importance of providing understanding and support. Sharing your time and your compassion can make a difference.
Often we react badly to the actions of people with mental illness out of ignorance. Sometimes we do so even when we are trying to help. Avoiding the wrong kind of reaction is often a question of recognising a mental illness for what it is: an illness, and failing to understand it in this vein often has harmful consequences.
I know, for many reading this, it is very hard to understand suicide; ultimately, for me, I felt defeated and to carry on living seemed too much. Depression is a continuous, painful battle which is so much more than feelings of sadness or being low. Depression creates a sense of worthlessness, hopelessness and despair.
The research into Alzheimer's and dementia is one of the most prevalent problems of this decade and these are brain diseases so why should depression or bi-polar be any different? If the government don't put funds for mental health in this budget at the end of November, it won't happen for a long time and the suffering and lack of help will continue.
Every time I run for my train that's taking off five minutes ago (I get an adrenaline high whenever I just make it), I think, "Why am I doing this?" And every night when the audience and I have a discussion after the interval, I remember why...