Leighton Buzzard man opens up about living with mental health problems

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Last month, the Observer carried the tragic story about Nathan Barlow, a 20-year-old man who took his own life while suffering from a psychiatric illness.

After running Nathan’s story, we were contacted by Tom, a man receiving treatment at the same mental health facility in Leighton Buzzard.

Tom wanted to share his experiences.

He said: “I can relate to that young man’s story. I’ve been in and out of depression for over 20 years.”

Tom has had more than one diagnosis for his illness over the years. After an intense period of being unwell last year, he was diagnosed as being bipolar.

He said: “I think my problems are likely to be hereditary. I’ve always been impulsive but that’s a bipolar trait.

“I’d wake up in the morning feeling terrible, without knowing why. It’s like how you feel when a loved one has died. Just so down.

“In the past, I’d been treated by GPs who were not always understanding. Eventually I got a referral to the mental health team at Crombie House in Leighton Buzzard.”

From there, Tom was put under the care of the mental health crisis team.

He said: “They gave me an ultimatum that saved my life, I’d lost total perspective on what was important.”

Tom has nothing but praise for the support he has received from facilities such as Crombie House.

He said: “My carers have been brilliant and they are there for you. When you talk to them, they understand your situation.

“But, they are faced with serious problems, there’s not enough funding. The people that work there are fantastic but you can see they are stretched to the limit.”

Tom believes there is still some stigma associated with having mental health problems.

The Mental Health Foundation estimates one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem in the course of a year.