Jimmy’s Story: Helping Others Using My Own Mental Health Experience

As mental health is now at the forefront of our general wellbeing and discussed more, the need for professional help, support groups and resources are needed now more than ever.

Jimmy of Talk & Thrive

Jimmy, of @talkthrive, is a brilliant advocate for mental health, more specifically men’s mental health. Having had mental health issues of his own, he is able to use his experiences, challenges and strategies of coping to aid others with their journey.

At the age of 15, Jimmy was a victim of child sexual abuse. This has had a detrimental effect on his mental health from then up until now. Unfortunately for Jimmy, this abuse went on for many years causing his life to self-destruct around him. With sexual abuse, self-destructive behaviour is fairly common, with many victims feeling ashamed, self-conscious whilst blaming themselves.

Jimmy stated that the abuse, “ruined relationships, jobs and got me in trouble with the law. He had always wanted to be a soldier and his abuser ruined his chance to do that. In terms of his mental health, he developed a huge mistrust of people, severe anxiety, depression, PTSD, borderline personality disorder and emotional unstable personality disorder. Jimmy also admitted that he had misused drugs and alcohol in the past.

In order to start the healing process, Jimmy accessed a local funded counselling service (Mosaic2 in Bradford). He went on to do psychotherapy, CBT and a level 3 counselling course for his own personal benefit to learn who he was.

In 2014 after seeing one of his abusers sent to prison, Jimmy and a fellow survivor started the Facebook group EMPS (Empowering Survivors) with the aim to support those who had suffered like himself. Amazingly, the support that he has provided others has resulted in many abusers receiving prison sentences.

In 2019, Jimmy was joined by John and they set up Talk&Thrive; a safe space where men can come to discuss their own mental health issues. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that this was a great success – so popular another two men’s groups, a female group and one specifically for Armed Forces Veterans was set up.

As well as offering support to those who seek it, Jimmy’s day job is as a binman.
Jimmy enjoying snowy West Yorkshire in January 2021

Jimmy’s help hasn’t stopped there. Take a look at what else he has done:

  • Helped West Yorkshire Police on interviewing techniques for those who are survivors and victims of sexual crimes.
  • Appeared on the BBC and local radio stations to talk about men’s mental health.
  • Set up a mental health radio show on Drystone radio every Sunday night to talk about mental health (as well as telling Dad jokes and playing music).

He is constantly working to break the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. He said to break the stigma, “it has to be taken down one brick at a time and by talking/being part of the groups I run will be a way of helping.”

Jimmy was one of the first people we “met” when starting our blog/Instagram page. In the short time that we’ve known him, we can see how passionate and determined he is to help and support those through their mental health journey as well as educating those by sharing his story. We need more men like Jimmy who bravely discuss mental health so openly in order to eradicate any stigma, stereotypes and to prevent those from suffering in silence.

We are sure you’ll agree that this is an inspirational story!

Nick & Lucy x

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