A 32-year-old man "never believed" he would have the life he now lives after reaching rock bottom 10 years ago.

Jake Mills was a struggling comedian who thought he was going through the motions, what he never realised at the time was that he suffered with depression.

His poor mental health coupled with the unknowingness of his condition led to him attempting to take his own life.

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Jake told the ECHO : "I convinced to myself that I would never get this life. That's why it's so important for people to know that if it seems impossible and you can't see beyond that darkness, it is possible. There is a better life ahead even if you can't see it.

"Just know that even if you can't see it you just have to believe that it's there. I can tell you now that there is no way that I would think I would not just be doing the job I'm doing now but to have the family and life I have now.

"Now I'm happy and healthy. I have everything I could have ever have wished for and I am incredibly grateful for that but it very nearly never happened."

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Jake is now the CEO and founder of Chasing the Stigma, a charity that works with the government and the NHS to help people who are suffering with mental illness and poor mental health.

He is keen to change people's thoughts around mental health, with the Crosby based CEO claiming that people see mental health in a negative light, compared to physical health being seen positively.

Jake with wife Rachael and their two children, Teddy, 5, and Nancy, 2
Jake with wife Rachael and their two children, Teddy, 5, and Nancy, 2

He said: "If I say the words physical health you'll probably think of somebody getting fit in the gym or eating well. You might think of it as an aspiration, a version of yourself.

"We look at physical health as something we have control over, we can aspire to be in peak physical health. We don't look at it as a negative thing. When we say mental health, people think of the negatives.

Helplines and support groups

The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]
  • PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won't show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.

  • Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
  • Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected]
  • Paul's Place - providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected]
  • The Martin Gallier Project - offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: [email protected]

"People may think of poor mental health such as depression. What we try to do as an organisation is normalise that and look at mental health in a much bigger scale. Looking at it as an aspiration and something we can all look after, and importantly then what to do if we're struggling."

Chasing the Stigma have most recently worked on the "Hub of Hope", an app designed to help people who are suffering with poor mental health.

The app combines services from the NHS, Samaritans and Crisis Text Line to create an app that has all the services you may need in one place.

The idea came from when Jake's story reached national news and he found himself with messages from people who were struggling with poor mental health.

He told the ECHO: "I was being asked by charities and other places to share my story and as a result of this people were coming to me for help. People who I didn't know, I did know, people from all over the country and different parts of the world.

"People were asking me what they should do and I quickly realised how many people were going through the same thing at the same time, and more importantly, that they didn't know how to get that help and support.

Jake with wife Rachael and their two children, Teddy, 5, and Nancy, 2
Jake with wife Rachael and their two children, Teddy, 5, and Nancy, 2

"When we looked it at the time there was a statistic that hasn't changed much since. Of all the people that die by suicide in the UK, almost three quarters of those are not known to mental health services or been seen in the year before their death. It's not just about awareness raising or talking about mental health, it's good but what happens when people are aware and they don't know where to get the help and support?

"We created a Hub of Hope that started as a spreadsheet on my computer in my mums house and we've now built that into the biggest and most comprehensive signposting tool of its kind in the UK. It's live on the NHS website, used in government reports, used by emergency services."

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