Stories of Hope: Matt Johnson
“I could’ve done with the Hub of Hope App myself”
After “accidentally” speaking about his own suicide attempt in an interview in 2013 TV presenter Matt began sharing his story to help others. Today he tells us about the moments of hope in his mental health journey, the challenges he faced and how therapy has helped his life.
Why did you get involved in the Network Rail and Chasing the Stigma ‘There is Always Hope’ campaign?
“After years of working in the mental health world I realise how hard it is for people to find the help they need outside of the big cities. I also have been through difficult times regarding my mental health, and I could’ve done with the Hub of Hope App myself.”
We really appreciate your honesty about your own mental health, why did you decide to speak out about it?
“I accidentally first talked about my mental health in an interview once without realising the impact that would have. I quickly learned that it would be big news at the time – there’s not many men who have talked openly about suicide. Luckily for me the charity Mind helped me tell my story in a responsible way and only then did I realise the weight and significance of this open conversation. When the dust settled I then realised how liberating it is to talk openly about my mental health and how much it helped people.”
What were the moments of hope for you in your mental health journey?
“The moments of hope throughout my mental health journey have been people’s reaction to when I’m being honest. For years I lived in fear of people’s judgement but 99 per cent of people are actually pretty lovely and very understanding. Also, over the last few years I really noticed attitudes towards the importance of mental health awareness improve significantly, from brands to broadcasters.”
What helped in terms of your own recovery?
“The greatest thing I ever did to improve my mental health was to accept that it takes work and to let go of any insecurities that I have about therapy. Best thing I ever did was have therapy! As soon as I got rid of my own preconceived judgements about it I started living a much calmer life.”
How easy do you think it is to find the right support for your mental health?
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been that easy to find the right support for your mental health as funding for these services is drastically low. There is hardly any money in the NHS and people are heavily relying on charities. This is why apps like the Hub of Hope are so important right now. We need to make mental health services more accessible, and we need to create safe spaces for people to access them.”
What challenges did you face?
“When I was going through my most difficult time and suffering from chronic depression I didn’t tell anybody about it. I didn’t even want to admit to myself that I was struggling. Therefore, I was not very forgiving towards myself. The way I talked to myself was hideous. This was all because of the negative stigma that is attached to vulnerability, failure, and mental health issues. After my suicide attempt in 2009, my biggest challenge was to be honest about my situation with my friends and family and to get the help I needed. Which still took three years…”
Do you wish you knew about the Hub of Hope earlier?
“If I’d always been aware of the Hub of Hope during my difficult times it would’ve been an absolute game changer for me. Also, over the last five years when I’ve been helping other people with their mental health issues, the Hub of Hope would’ve been a brilliant place for me to direct them to.”
How does it improve access to support?
“It improves access to support simply by having it all in the palm of your hand and it takes away any possible fear of judgement from human interaction as it’s on an app. It’s easy to use and simplifies a preconceived complex situation.”
If you, today, could speak to yourself at your lowest point, what would you tell yourself?
“The first thing I would tell myself would be to go and get the help you need! Go and get therapy! Be honest about your issues, don’t be so hard on yourself and take one day at a time.”
Follow Matt on Instagram @mattjohnsons<- Back to news