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Jon's story

Following on from his photography project called ‘Man-up’, which focussed on men and their mental health, Jon Mackenzie is about to start work on a project in Cornwall, asking people in communities to talk about and share their experiences of mental health. Cornwall has a high proportion of people who commit suicide and it’s more common in men than women.

He’ll be interviewing a range of people as well photographing them, with the aim of making more people realise that we all have mental health and talking about it helps raise awareness for people and start a conversation about it.

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Jon has had his own mental health issues, at various times in his life he’s had depression and anxiety.  He said: “Initially I didn’t cope very well. In society you can often feel like, as a man, that you’re not meant to feel these things. We’re not encouraged to take care of our mental health so I didn’t really bother, because I didn’t think I was allowed to.

“That had long term negative effects on my mental health, it got worse and worse. The thing that helped me the most, I had some CBT, that’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which really helped changed my way of thinking about my mental health and helped me to keep that in check. You can get caught in a cycle sometimes, so to actually make sure you do things you enjoy, like I go surfing, climbing or I go to the gym. Make sure you do what you enjoy.

My photography also helps; it is a response to the world around me and helps me make sense of it all. I hope it helps others as well”.

“Mental health isn’t different to our physical health, we all get colds and get a bit sick and we can also get a bit sick with our mental health.”

If you feel like you need some help there is support available from the Calm Zone 

You can also access further support through the Council's mental health web pages