Local man tells mental health story in charity video

Local charity Mind Your Head has released a film highlighting men’s mental ill health.

The short monologue film tells the story of a young Shetland man named Laurence who talks about his battle with his illness and the impact on himself as well as his family and friends.

His emotional story is told in his own words and he recalls the dark side of mental ill health and how alone sufferers can feel.

Laurence speaks of the time he first told one of his friends how he was feeling. At the time of opening up to his friend Laurence found that his friend also shared his own issues. Anouska Civico, of Mind Your Head, said this was a particularly emotive part of Laurence’s story and for Laurence (whose surname has been withheld) represented a critical moment when he knew he needed to ask for help.

Anouska Civico, of Mind Your Head, said this was a particularly emotive part of Laurence’s story and for Laurence (whose surname has been withheld) represented a critical moment when he knew he needed to ask for help.

Mrs Civico said: “This is a very honest and raw film and Laurence is an amazingly brave guy to share his story to help others.

“The film has taken several months to produce simply because of the nature of the subject matter but the end result is humbling…

“We hope that this film will get men to talk to others about how they are feeling. There is no hesitation when I say that I feel sure that there will be lots of individuals who can relate to what Laurence is saying.”

Mind Your Head chairwoman Shona Manson said: “Having people like Laurence brave enough to share their own experiences of mental ill health is what can really make a difference to others in similar situations in our community. On behalf of Mind Your Head I would like to say a huge thank you to Laurence and his family for working with Anouska and Dave to produce this excellent film.”

Mrs Civico added that producing the film backed up the work the charity is doing via “The Grubby Hut” initiative which sees staff visit male-dominated workplaces to talk to men about managing their mental health and encouraging them to speak with others, including colleagues.

“What we have found is that by sharing your story you will find that it is likely other people are experiencing, or have experienced, similar issues hence highlighting how prevalent mental ill health is,” said Mrs Civico.

The film is the first of three to be launched by Mind Your Head over the coming months focusing on the issue of talking about mental health particularly for men. The films were recorded and produced in collaboration with Hoswick-based Dave Donaldson. Mrs Civico said: “Myself and Dave feel honoured that [Laurence] shared his story with us.”


Add Your Comment
  • Ian Campbell

    • April 27th, 2016 20:00

    Powerful stuff about a subject that is all too easily ignored. Well done to all involved.

  • Martin Scholtz

    • April 27th, 2016 23:11

    Brilliant and brave testimony. Well done to the organisers. Well done to Laurence.

  • David Spence

    • April 28th, 2016 2:22

    Well done to all involved in the making of the film, especially Laurence.

    The more medical science learns about the brain, and the complexities of it, the more we realize, I think, many of the problems are related to social and economic conditioning.

    This includes drugs, alcohol, crime and social isolation. I suspect more than half on the diagnosed conditions related to mental health were not even remotely known about 25 – 40 years ago.

    However, I feel that many of the conditions of mental health are perpetrated by the stigma associated with mental health, and the ignorance shown as a result of a lack of knowledge. As well as this, a rather old fashioned attitude towards is such conditions is still prevalent in today’s society, to a degree.

    I also think many mental health issues are brought on by bullying, psychological bullying, social network bullying, the fear of getting help or treatment due to the stigma associated with mental health, thus making it worse for the person who is suffering, the quick fix method of treating people with drugs, despite the potential more harmful side-affects.

    Treatments have improved, but there is still a long way to go.

    • Laurence Johnson

      • April 30th, 2016 0:36

      Hi David, thank you for your comment! Much appreciate it ☺️
      I spoke in this film and it’s been emotional trip but I’m glad I did it had a great team behind me.

      Iv struggled since I was a wee boy, starting in primary till the days I left high school. Learning problems, Aniexty and OCD.
      I was bullied a little but it’s weird situation because I had a lot of friends and I didn’t think it was bullying at the time but as I got older something clicked inside me and made me very angry then started looking at it way to much in my head, It truely is amazing how the mind works. One day I will go into these stories in more detail but love to see what ppl think. Thank you ????

  • Andy Ross

    • April 28th, 2016 8:09

    Laurence, you are a very brave man, and a fantastic role model for men and for your family. Depression and suicide is remarkably common amongst young men. You will make a difference.

    • Laurence Johnson

      • April 30th, 2016 0:39

      Thank you David, am just a man trying to find answers ???? I hope I can be a stepping stone for men to come out and talk.

  • Steven Jarmson

    • April 28th, 2016 9:27

    It takes some amount of guts to do something like this.

  • Anne Birnie

    • April 28th, 2016 13:26

    Well done Lowri – so brave of you – it is such a big BIG help to ‘talk’ when inside your head gets ill……as that’s just exactly what it is – an illness like any other – just that it’s not so easy to put a sticky plaster on 🙁 Keep fighting – and you’ll get there……..believe me you will 🙂

    • Laurence Johnson

      • April 30th, 2016 0:45

      Thank you for comment Anne, it’s very tough indeed sometimes u think it’s u! but after while the illness becomes part of you and then u realise this is not me and I personally even tho I was frightened didn’t know if I needed help but just when u become used to this character it’s scary to let it go because it’s latched onto you, very difficult to explain haha. Thank you tho ????

  • David Spence

    • April 28th, 2016 22:38

    Although I am physically disabled, the complete paralysis of my left arm, I am still in a position of limiting what I can do due to the anxiety and fear of what other people may think. Whether this be pointing, staring or commenting due to the fact I am physically very different ‘ to the perceived norm ‘.

    I used to love swimming, but because of my disability, and the vast difference in which my paralyzed arm looks now (exceedingly thin due to the lack of nerve impulses to the muscles (my Brachial Plexus nerve being severed) literally skin and bone) I am very conscious of not wanting to put myself in a position of ridicule or unintentionally being the focus of attention due to my disability.

    Many people have said ‘ Just go to the Clickimin and enjoy swimming ‘. Such simple but to me very powerful words which brings on anxiety, fear and putting myself in a position of where I just want to close myself to the outside world.

    It is, I think, a classic example of a physical disability transferring itself into a psychological condition which is not so easy to get out of.

  • Sonja MacNaughton

    • May 1st, 2016 23:57

    Lawrence you have done an amazing and selfless simple act by telling the truth and addressing the problem, but in so doing has probably saved several lives already. When you have a popular and good looking guy suffering from hidden mental health issues and struggling to cope, what chance has the rest of society got. Hopefully this film will let fellow suffers find the courage to ask for help and get the treatment they desperately need.

  • Haydn Gear

    • May 2nd, 2016 11:30

    Laurence Johnson said on April 30th “I am just man”………. To my way of thinking he is not just a man , he is an extraordinary man who has highlighted an issue which so often is glossed over. What he has done can only be a force for good from which those who are in similar circumstances will take heart and be grateful. Laurence, I hold you in the highest esteem and am glad that brave men like you exist to bring benefit to society.

  • David Spence

    • May 2nd, 2016 12:28

    Laurence is a great example where strength, courage and open minded to issues many people, including myself, find very difficult to escape from. You are an inspiration to many people Laurence, and I take onboard the positive influence you have had on many people.

    Mental Health and the support services which go with it, I believe, is very much struggling to provide much needed help to those in society who need it most.

    I know one should not talk about politics when it comes to issues of mental health, but one has no choice but to due to the unjustified austerity cuts put upon by this Government on the NHS. Yes, people may criticize the NHS for not doing enough, but when the organisation is forced to make cuts, in the same vein as this Government, it is the weak and vulnerable in society which suffers most.

    If our Government can give £460 billion to the worst institution in society, the banks, then it can surely offer help to those in most need………….and not to those who are responsible for the austerity cuts in the first place.

  • jane Newman

    • May 3rd, 2016 17:27

    Hi Laurence thankyou for sharing your story very brave l also have suffered mental health problems and yes it’s a long journey but worth it when you come out the other side your family lm sure are proud of you take care


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