A BRAVE pair of volunteers have spoken out about their mental health issues in a bid to make sure others don’t suffer in silence.

Nigel Honey and Joe Bannatyne have both experienced dark days but are now focused on helping others through their work with See Me, which campaigns to help end mental health discrimination.

They have opened up about their own experiences as part of the Time to Change initiative.

Both Nigel, from Johnstone, and Joe, from Clarkston, are convinced that talking about mental health issues with others is a vital step forward.

“It is hard to reach out,” said Nigel. “Luckily, I had two good friends to speak to.

“It is difficult for people to understand mental health if they have not experienced it. They can give sympathy but it’s hard to understand.

“Talking about mental health can make all the difference. We can only move forward and help each other by talking and sharing.”

Joe added: “There were certain days I could open up to anyone and tell them about my experiences with anxiety and depression. Other days, I wouldn’t be as strong and confident about discussing it.

“I guess I would put that down to me seeing it as a potential scenario where a loss of credibility with colleagues, friends and even family may occur but talking about mental health was a massive part in my recovery.

“I think that, once you establish some sort of discussion regarding your problems, then it gets easier to do it on a consistent basis.

“Years and years of keeping feelings inward, in the end, got too much for me until I couldn’t cope any longer. That doesn’t happen anymore.

“Engaging with people and telling them your story can help.”

A survey, commissioned by Time to Change, has revealed that two-thirds of people in Scotland feel they have no-one to talk to about mental health or issues such as money problems and relationships.

The research also showed the main reason people don’t talk about mental health is because they couldn’t find the right place or time.

Calum Irving, See Me director, said: “It’s easy to think there’s no right place to talk about mental health but, the more we talk about it, the better life is for all of us.

“Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. Conversations have the power to change lives, wherever they take place.”

For advice on coping with mental health issues, visit www.seemescotland.org.