World Mental Health Day 2019 - Meet the man on a mission to get people talking

World Mental Health Day is today (Thursday, October 10), the theme this year is suicide prevention.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 9:50 am

Michael Turlin is on a mission to get people talking.

Ten years ago Mike’s life began to unravel.

In the space of a few months his marriage broke down, he was made redundant from his job and both his best friend and mother died.“I felt as if I had nothing to live for,” he said.“I made several attempts to take my own life, I had just given up on life.”

World Mental Health Day

On his last attempt he says it should have taken seconds for it to happen but instead he remembers just being awake in his mum’s garden thinking ‘what am I doing?’.“I knew that I couldn’t kill myself by jumping off a bridge or stepping in front of a train as that would impact other people and I didn’t want people to be affected by my actions.“I didn’t think about the people I was leaving behind but I didn’t want to do something that would cause an accident.“I just came to realise that life was worth living. “I went on holiday to Cuba, and started taking dance classes learning the jive and salsa. “I got a job at the place I used to work and I had my own apartment things just fell into place.”

Last year Mike received an unexpected tax rebate.“I went online and found a Bentley so I bought it,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when I got it. I went from having nothing and sleeping on people’s sofas to owning a Bentley that I had customised.”

Mike now takes his car to shows up and down the country from Birmingham to London.“I have banners saying ‘Living the Dream’ on and my story and people come over and talk to me. I had a group of ladies in tears the other day,” he explained.“A mother and father came over and spoke to me about their son and I said to them that he won’t talk to them as they are two close and that they need someone that is removed from it all.”

It is this message that Mike wants to get across to people - the importance of talking and finding someone you can open up to.“I don’t give advice I just share what I have been through and hope to help people by sharing my story.“People feel so comfortable talking to me as it isn’t in someone’s office, it is in a comfy relaxed setting and people just share all their stories and tell me what they are going though.“I think people trust me as I have been through it and know what they may be going through emotionally.“I just want to help people. “But the first step for anyone is to see their doctor.”

Mike with his car and banner

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on October 10 every year. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is mental health promotion and suicide prevention.“I hope that by doing what I am doing I will have an impact and reduce the suicide rate,” he said.

A 2019 Office for National Statistics study found that: “Every year, around 800 000 people die by suicide globally. “In the UK in 2018, there were 6,507 deaths by suicide (a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people).”

The Mental Health Foundation says on its website: If you have seriously harmed yourself, or you don’t feel that you can keep yourself safe right now seek immediate help by calling 999, or going straight to A&E.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and need support, you can: Call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment. Call NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct (Wales) for out-of-hours to help. Contact your mental health crisis team if you have one. Phone a free helpline such as:

Suicide prevention advice from Mental Health Foundation

Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) have a helpline (5pm – midnight) and webchat to support men Papyrus is a dedicated service for young people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, you can text 07786 209697 or email [email protected]

For more information on Mike, visit his website Facebook on Instagram