Choosing to put pen to paper during some of the toughest moments of his life, Jake Neufeld is using his talent for writing to encourage others with depression to find a way to express their emotions.
The 19-year-old from the Scottish city of Stirling wants to challenge the stigma attached to the mental health condition, while urging others to find a way to manage their feelings.
‘Mental health is something I’ve had personal experience of and I hope that by using that experience, I’ve been able to capture how it feels,’ Jake explains.
‘I want people to hear what I have to say and to relate to it.
‘I don’t just want them to focus on the low points, but to take away the message that I’m trying to put across. You have to express yourself in any way that makes you feel like a better person.’
With Fixers, Jake has helped to create a film to accompany one of his spoken word poems, which has been set to music.
In it, he offers his perspective on depression, giving an insight into his feelings and how he deals with his problems.
With verses including, ‘It’s not about telling someone you’re lower than low, it’s about expression of self not putting on a show, it’s about depression, my suggestion, express yourself,' he urges others to find their own outlet.
You can watch and listen to ‘One Day: Dealing With Depression’ at the top of this page.
‘I write. I use my words from pen to paper to let off steam, instead of harming myself,’ Jake says.
‘I started writing and I felt more in control of things.
‘I write for myself and my sanity, and it’s helped keep me grounded through some of the toughest points in my life.
‘Music has always been a release for me. Even if the majority of the time the words are heavy and negative, it leaves me feeling lighter.
‘I want people to keep trying and to find their own way of expressing themselves.’
Jake hopes to spread news of his project online, using social media to reach as wide an audience as possible.
‘Hopefully it will be shared and seen by people that can relate,’ he adds.
‘I want everyone that has had, or is having, a tough time to take something positive from their negative experience, to allow it to drive them on to better things.’
For help with mental health, visit the Get Connected website or call them free on 0808 808 4994.
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Also encouraging those with illnesses like depression to express
themselves creatively, Katie Sowden draws attention to the benefits
of art when it comes to managing mental health.