A TRAINEE teacher from Bingley has spoken of his plans to visit schools and colleges in the district to share his story about his struggles with mental health.

Tom Boldy, of Eldwick, suffered from depression and anxiety throughout his teens, and is hoping to visit schools to speak to students about the importance of talking about mental health.

The 22-year-old said he didn’t receive support for mental health during his teenage years and was scared of telling anyone about his problems, and hopes by opening up about his experiences to young people, it will encourage more young people who may be struggling with mental health to open up and seek help.

Tom was inspired to speak out about his problems after sharing his story in a video on social media, which quickly went viral.

He said: “My depression spiralled out of control when I was at school.

“It felt like I was the only one feeling like that so found it hard to speak to people.

“That’s why I speak about the importance of mental health and I am passionate about spreading my story to get people talking about it.

“My problems started when I was in Year 6 when my parents split up. The feeling of having my dad there as a role model to then not having him there at all was hard to deal with, but because I’m a lad you think you shouldn’t talk about your feelings.

“I’d never heard of mental health before I just felt alone. My thoughts were just getting worse and darker and I tried to take my own life.

“Then Gary Speed died, I’m a big football fan, and people started talking about mental health. A lot of footballers spoke about it and it hit home to me and made me feel like I wasn’t the only one.

“I realised it was an illness, not just something happening to me, so I spoke to my mum but couldn’t find the courage to tell her so got my friend to ring the doctor pretending I had a cold.

“I sat with my GP and it took me five minutes to actually say it, but once I did it felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

“Her support was fantastic, she sat with me and just held me because I was in tears.”

Tom was given medication, which he said made his depression worse and also gave him anxiety, so was taken off it and put forward for cognitive behavioural therapy, which he said “pretty much saved my life”.

“It changed the way I approached things and gave me a new mindset,” he said.

“There are still days I feel down but because of the therapy I can get through them.”

Tom said he has been contacted by West Yorkshire mental health charity Andy’s Man Club, and is hoping to visit schools in Bradford to speak about his experiences to try and help others.

“The best thing to do is reach out and ask for support. It’s such a hard thing to do to speak to that first person. If I had had someone come into school when I was younger to talk about it, it would have made a huge difference for me. I just want young people who are struggling to know it is normal and it is ok to talk about your problems.”

Tom said that while his mother was heartbroken when he first told her about his problems, she is proud of how he has coped.


"When I told her she was heartbroken. She did everything she could to protect me and make sure I have a good life and to hear I was struggling, I didn't want to put a burden on her, but she has been really supportive.

"My mum is my best friend, she is so proud of what I'm doing and trying to achieve, turning my negative into a positive to help others going through what I am going through."