A HINKLEY Point A worker on the path to recovery from a mental health breakdown is giving talks about his experience.

Julian Raithby, from Fivehead, tells groups what it feels and looks like to have mental health issues and suggests ways of coping.

As a mental health first aider, his aim is to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around the subject.

He said: "I've experienced addiction, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, so am in a great position to empathise with people suffering and looking for some help and guidance.

"Mental health issues, especially among the younger generations, is a big subject now and the problem is only growing."

Julian's mental health "collapsed" following a trauma in 2016.

He added: "Just as I was learning to cope, the Covid pandemic came and I rapidly deteriorated again.

"I had a breakdown at work, which ironically led me down the path of recovery I'm now on.

"So many people that I watched online talk about their mental health skipped over how it really felt, the emotions and battles, and were often portrayed as people who had beaten their demons.

"They were also elite sportspeople or ex-Special Forces and successful businesspeople, all of which I just didn't relate to.

"I also started to notice that people I knew who were struggling, didn't want to tell anyone and so this caused arguments as people didn't understand why they were reacting the way they were and the person themselves struggled even more as events like this just added to their stress."

Last year he created a talk to share an inside view of the realities of mental health issues.

"We are all so different that no one shoe fits all, so this adds to the difficulty in helping other," said Julian.

"I wanted to show what an average person can do and that I'm still learning how to live and even strive with my issues."

He has given talks at Hinkley and businesses across the country and has been supported by his bosses and mental health charity MIND.

His talk is free, apart from travel costs, for educational facilities and charities, but there's a small fee for businesses.

"After each talk, people open up about their own struggles and the sense of camaraderie is unbelievably comforting," said Julian.

"I've been so grateful to everyone who has told me their story and this has spurred me on even more.

"So many people are struggling out there and don't know where to start getting any help. Hopefully my talk can answer some of those questions and make people aware that they are not alone."