Collage of photos of campaign contributors

"Your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of."

About Joe:Portrait of Joe

My name is Joe and I work in social media marketing within the Higher Education industry in the UK. I am passionate about promoting positive mental wellbeing to the student community; however, I have frequently had my own struggles with anxiety and depression.


I struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time as a teenager and young adult. I am gay, and whilst my identity is now an important part of my life, I struggled to come to terms with my sexuality for a long time. I was a very quiet teenager and didn’t make any lasting friendships at university. I used my time to focus on doing well academically, shutting myself away and punishing myself for any “gay thoughts” that entered my head.

Needless to say, my mental health wasn’t great! I came out when I was 21, but was still very conservative with my attitudes towards LGBTQ+ issues and had no real understanding of mental illness. The turning point for me came when I met my current partner, seven years ago, who had experience with mental illness, and convinced me to reach out for help. His compassion, as well as a great doctor and very caring managers at work, helped me on the path to recovery. I was put onto a great medication plan and had a long period of counselling and CBT. Thanks to this, I was able to form some strong social connections, explore and enjoy my sexuality a lot more, and advance in my career.

Unfortunately, I have been knocked back quite a bit by the COVID-19 lockdowns and working from home, so I am back struggling with my mental health, however thanks to my experiences as a young adult, I reached out for help much earlier on, and have been much more open about my current illness with my family, friends, and employer. 



  • Accepting – and then embracing – my sexuality was a really important step on my journey to recovery as a young adult. This might mean you need to find a safe space, or a trustworthy friend to open up to, and take some time to talk about what you are experiencing. 


  • Whilst it isn’t for everyone, it is worth persevering to find the right medication for you. I tried several types of antidepressants before finding one which worked for me. 

Getting outside

  • Spending time outdoors in the natural world is a wonderful healer. I try to go for a walk every day, and spend a lot of time tending to my garden and house plants too. Gardening, walking, photographing nature, and listening to the natural world are all very mindful exercises and it’s hard to stay angry or upset after an hour outside.


Come out, if you think you might be LGBTQ+

  • I recommend coming out as soon as you feel it is safe and comfortable to do so. This doesn’t necessarily mean coming out to your entire family, or everyone at work all at once. Just being honest about yourself to one trustworthy person is a huge weight off your shoulders and should ease some of the pressure in your mind.

Reach out

  • Your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk about it. If you are struggling, talk to your doctor or therapist, confide in a close friend or relative, or call a helpline. You won’t ever regret it.

Let it out

  • Don’t hold in your emotions. Cry if you need to. Rip up loads of paper, go for a jog, knead some dough. Do something productive to let your feelings out. They are always better out of your head!  

Get out

  • Try and stay as social as you can. Being around other people will lift your mood, and it will also strengthen relationships with friends, so that you have people to count on when you need support. If you need some alone time, try and go for a walk in the countryside, or go to the cinema or a gallery, rather than sitting at home.

Look out 

  • Try and become aware of your moods. Learn which things trigger anxiety or depression so that you can look out for them. 

Joe Hudson, Hampshire, United Kingdom

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