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York resident Ian creates film to help other depression sufferers

A man from York has created a film in which he talks about his struggles with depression to help people who are experiencing mental health issues of their own.

Ian Cartwright teamed up with NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to create the five-minute film in which he talks frankly about his struggles with mental health over the years.

And now the film has been launched to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which starts today (Monday 14 May), in the hope that it will help persuade others to talk about their problems and seek help if needed.

The film is available to view here:

Ian, 60, who works for the City of York Council as a Community Involvement Officer, first suffered from depression 30 years ago while working as a general manager for a power tools company.

Ian, also a retired Methodist Minister, went on to suffer from several different bouts of depression in the ensuing years. His most recent one, which was also the most significant, occurred three years ago and led to his early retirement.

But now that he’s well on the road to recovery following various streams of healing and treatment, Ian wants to share his story to help others who might be experiencing mental health problems of their own.

He said: “I’m pleased to have been given the opportunity by the Vale of York CCG to share my story to help raise awareness about mental health conditions, and what better time to do so than during Mental Health Awareness Week.

“I hope that by speaking openly about my experiences, it will encourage others to do the same and get the help they need. You’re not alone, there are many other people out there who suffer from depression.

“I can honestly say that I was embarrassed when I was first diagnosed with depression and in the times thereafter, but as soon as I was able to admit that I suffered from depression it opened up so many conversations with people who have suffered similar circumstances.”

Ian’s road to recovery included compassion-focused therapy at the Tuke Centre at The Retreat in York and he now draws on his experiences to challenge how society perceives mental health in his role as Time to Change Co-Ordinator for York CVS. He also owns Imagine Projects, a community-focused project management organisation which he developed as part of his recovery from depression.

While working hard is in his nature and these roles keep him occupied, Ian insists it’s important not to over-work and take time out to enjoy life on a regular basis.

He said: “It’s important to listen to your body as much as your mind. If you’re working hard, overtime, making a big contribution, then a work-life balance is really important.

“My 10 tips for good mental health are: 1) talk to someone 2) keep active 3) eat well 4) drink sensibly 5) keep in touch with friends 6) ask for help 7) take a break 8) do something you enjoy 9) accept who you are 10) help others.”

Mental health is one of the CCG’s key priority areas for 2018-19, as outlined in its Commissioning Intentions, which sets out how the CCG plans to improve the health of the Vale of York community during the year.

The Commissioning Intentions reflect the views of local people who attended the CCG’s ‘big conversation’ engagement events last summer, and are the start of a journey to transform local services.

Dr Louise Barker, the CCG’s Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disability Services, said: “I’d like to thank Ian for sharing his story about his mental health struggles. It takes great courage to talk about issues of such a personal nature and by sharing his experiences he will help others going through similar difficult circumstances.

“The people of Vale of York told us they think that mental health is an important health care service issue during our ‘big conversation’ engagement events last year – and, subsequently, the CCG is working with its partners to improve mental health service performance against national standards, particularly in early intervention psychosis, improving access to psychological therapies, dementia diagnosis and children’s and young people’s mental health services." 

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