George is a third-year English Literature and Philosophy student at Cardiff University. He’s also a Research Champion for NCMH, helping spread the word about our research. This is his story:
In my spare time, I write a lot, and campaign to improve mental health, being the first Mental Health Officer for the university. I have worked previously with the BBC, the Guardian, and other outlets to help reports about mental health.
I’ve suffered from anxiety since I was 13, and was put on strong medication almost at once. It didn’t get easier and before long I found myself on anti-depressants as well. I developed severe agoraphobia, and it was only when I left home to go to university that things started to improve.
I came off all my medication and began to look after myself a lot better, and I’ve made huge improvements since. I felt very ‘foggy’, particularly from the medication, and that’s nearly gone, which has made a huge difference to my quality of life. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance, and am in a much stronger place now.
I heard about NCMH through collaborative projects with the BBC on television and radio, discussing my experiences and offering my perspective for various mental health-related reports.
I want to help improve the understanding around mental health on both a scientific and social level, so as to give adequate help to those who need it, having experienced it myself already.
After volunteering for the study I’m keen to do more in the future. Before taking part I worried about being so honest, and about giving blood, but I found afterward that I didn’t need to worry about anything.
Two women interviewed me, who were both extremely kind and considerate, particularly as I had never given blood before. They were very understanding and non-judgemental, which made the experience very comfortable.
I nearly fainted, but they were very supportive, and I quickly recovered. Apart from that, giving blood didn’t hurt like I had expected.
It’s incredibly important for people to take part in this research and I’ll be recommending it to my friends and family. I hope the research gives us an improved understanding of mental health conditions and will aid future treatments.