My name is Mark Williams, however I have now changed my title to Campaigner! Why? Well... after speaking to so many families over the years, I need to give these wonderful people a voice. These people have an expansive range of mental health problems, and are afraid to come forward due to the stigma attached to mental health. It may also be because they don't want family and friends to know. Even though we are in an age where other illnesses have far reaching attention, we are straggling behind when it comes to mental health.
When I set up fathers reaching out, I didn't ever think for a second that I would wind up campaigning for these mental health issues that are so close to my heart. I felt that the government would see that there is an enormous problem, yet after really learning the hardship of the families that are going through mental health crisis, I fear that this isn't the case. I am waiting for the answer to be well, 'we have to cut services' or 'we don't have the money'.
Research says that if we spend money preventing the illness, then it will save resources in other sectors in the future. Some people who struggle with mental health turn to drink and drugs crime to survive, we only have to look at our hero's from the army, many of whom are homeless to back this up.
I feel we are heading in the right direction with amazing campaigns like Time to Change and other mental health charities. But my role will be taking this to our government and for them to see how vital it is to have prevention services in place before it goes to crisis point. Dealing with mental health illness before crisis point is essential as it can led onto other challenging areas due to it manifesting.
Every illness whether it's bipolar or schizophrenia can be managed. We also need people to know that mental health illness is like depression that has genetic factors to it as well.
Close to my heart-
• When you see a friend of 36 working hard up to the age of 31, this being the beginning of when his troubles really began to surface. He is now bed bound with mental health and drinking dependency.
• When you see ladies in their 70s whom had postnatal depression in their teens, suffering in silence all their lives due to lack of care and support.
• When you see good caring people who are struggling with themselves yet helping other people, (this should be a professional within our care system).
• Young children dying, Men taking their lives due to nowhere else to turn.
These are the issues that make me stand up and be counted, from today until the day I take my last breath, I want to make you all join me and stand up for what's right in your hearts.
We are all here to make a difference however big or small it may be, I feel I have a purpose to my life to make awareness of an illness, that if we don't do anything today by 2030 it will be the biggest health issue our world will have to deal with - the World Health Organisation predicts.
We are here to help not only the people of today but future generations to come. Please make a difference today and join us in the fight to end the stigma of mental health, so families can come forward and seek help and advice quicker. As we know the quicker help arrives, the quicker the recovery- Mark Williams