THINK – a lifesaving message from John

To mark World Mental Health Day on Thursday 10 October, which this year focuses on suicide prevention, we tell the story of John who contacted our Hope Project for help when he felt life wasn’t worth living anymore. The Hope Project works with men like John offering them practical and emotional support particularly debt and benefits advice.

I’ve got nothing but admiration for Joe and the Hope Project. When I first met him a few months ago I had been diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. I had many problems and the debts were mounting up. I was in a bad, bad place.

He was good enough to get me a grant and helped me reapply for my benefits which when I did it on my own left me with nothing.

The pressure came off.

He even explained to them how I couldn’t go to a face to face meeting and got me out of doing that. I get the full benefit now and it has taken the pressure off me. I’ve paid the rent, paid the gas and electricity and got myself right.

If it weren’t for Joe I wouldn’t be here now, I’d be dead. He has been absolutely fantastic. He’s a lovely guy. So very patient. He knows me so well. If I don’t answer a question because it hurts me to talk, he’ll wait and he’ll ask me the next time he sees me or the time after that. He knows I will speak in the end and he waits. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

I can’t leave the house on my own.

I’ve had depression for over 25 years but back then there was no-one to see. I had no help. I used to work on the race courses and it was all right then. Then three years ago suddenly I got social anxiety. I can’t leave the house on my own. If I come across some people, I have to leave and walk away.

Now that my debts are sorted, I can have a chance to fight my depression and anxiety. I’m seeing Alex from Rethink and I’m talking baby steps.

I still get up in the morning and have thoughts of killing myself. I still have a plan to kill myself. I had this play to end my life on 25 March 2019, the day after my 60th birthday. But Joe said something that made me stop in my tracks.

I couldn’t put mum through it.

He said: How would your mum feel? My mum has already gone through it because my older brother died suddenly in his sleep five years ago and she was in bits after that. I realised I couldn’t put her through that again.

Joe helped me come up with another way of helping. I’ve put this great big notice in red letters on the inside of my front door which says THINK. That’s my way of stopping myself going through with my idea of killing myself. It stops me in my tracks.

Joe understands and has helped me so much. He knows that every 3 or 4 months I have two or three days when things are bad, I stay in bed arguing with myself. It’s really tiring. I don’t sleep, and I don’t sleep much anyway and that makes everything worse.

My haven and my hell.

My flat is my haven, but it’s also my hell. I feel safe, but I have nothing to take my mind of my thoughts. I can’t concentrate any more to read. I can watch telly and listen to music sometimes.

Joe was good enough to get a CD player and some CDs for me through the Sylvia’s Fund. And music does help in good times.

I appreciated that so much. It was quite overwhelming really, none of you really know me and you did that for me. It really gives me hope.

Services to help you

  • The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal. Call for free any time, from any phone on 116 123 or you can email
  • Talking Money is a charity that helps people in financial hardship, face-to-face and over the phone. Call for free on 0800 121 4511
  • An online resource you may find helpful is
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