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Loved ones ‘should open up a dialogue’ around mental health

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With shocking statistics showing that 13 men take their own life every day, it’s clear that men’s mental health is not being talked about enough. As part of our #WeNeedToTalk series of real life stories, Oli Jones, a professional tennis coach and mental health campaigner, talks about his diagnosis with bipolar disorder..

After a decade of dealing with symptoms of depression and mania, Oli was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012. When he was very young, his father took his own life, and Oli has experienced suicidal feelings over the past decade.

Oli is involved with communicating the Movember campaign this month

Oli is involved with communicating the Movember campaign this month

According to the NHS, bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a condition that can cause your moods to swing from one extreme to the other, going from feeling very low and lethargic to very high and overactive.

“Initially I coped with it by admitting to myself there was something wrong. I managed to talk about it with my family and friends.”

He feels that there is a lot of information regarding mental health available now, and it’s important for loved ones to open up a dialogue.

“Once the conversation has started, the person struggling may need to get professional help so I would urge them to take them to the GP and maybe even go with them for support. Sometimes, just talking about mental health can help a person to begin to deal with how they are feeling.”

Oli also had to change his lifestyle to adjust to a new way of trying to stay mentally stable. As well as his tennis coaching, he’s also started running as it helps to get the natural endorphins flowing in the body.

“This year, I’ll be taking part in Movember’s Move initiative and hoping to fit in a MoRun.”

“I try to keep a balance – making sure that my diet is good and that I keep my intake of alcohol to a sensible level. It is possible to recover from poor mental health, it may take some time and patience but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”

For more information about Movember or the Movember Move initiative, visit the website or tweet them @MovemberUK

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