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'I just wanted out': How openly talking about his feelings saved Rhys Jones’s life

Rhys Jones described himself as always happy and the "loudest in the room" but these characteristics were masking how he was really feeling.

For years, Rhys had been struggling with anxiety and depression - and contemplated taking his own life.

I was looking for an escape, I'd had enough - I wanted out.

I got to the point where I was at some rocks in Devon and I wanted to jump off.

– Rhys Jones

Fortunately a phone call saved his life, but it was at this point Rhys knew he needed to do something drastic to turn his life around and he did just that.

Despite the stigma associated with mental health Rhys decided he needed to openly talk about his feelings. Feeling unable to do so to professionals he took to social media.

I found it very difficult to open up honestly about it and I also felt like the people around me were kind of treating me like a text book rather than a person.

That kind of makes you go deeper into your shell rather than opening up. So I kept on bottling everything in. And then I had to open up, which is what I did.

It couldn't have got any worse in fairness. I was crying nightly and it was then that I thought it's sink or swim and that's kind of where I started to turn my life around and doing the daily posts that helped me much more than I ever thought they would.

– Rhys Jones

Every day Rhys would post a short video of himself talking about how he was feeling, he says the response he received from both friends, family and strangers was overwhelming and spurred him on to keep going.

He quickly realised that what he was doing was allowing others to open up and share how they were also feeling.

I know back home a lot of were struggling but I didn't really know the severity of how many people were struggling and the number of messages I was having back with my head being clear I thought: something needs to be done.

– Rhys Jones

Over the last few months Rhys has been able to put his demons behind him and is now not only working towards gaining qualifications in the field of mental health counselling but is also setting up a charity to help others.

Credit: Rhys Jones

The charity, Inch by Inch, already organises frequent walks and encourages anyone who is suffering to join them to just walk in silence or to open up and talk when they are ready.

Rhys also attributes exercise and being outdoors as factors in his recovery.

Rhys is now determined to keep talking and being honest about his feelings and hopes his charity will help break the stigma around mental health.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article then contact the Samaritans on 116 123.