By: Dan Bean
A MUSICIAN from York says more needs to be done to help people with mental health problems in the city.
Stuart Niven said he had tried to commit suicide several times after taking antidepressants, and the lack of mental health services in York was something that needed rectifying.
Mr Niven, 56, contacted The Press after reading about Tony Pratt, who took his own life using prescription drugs after suffering from mental illness and after begging to be sectioned as he felt suicidal.
He said: “I’ve had the same problems Tony Pratt had with mental health services in York and in Leeds. The only support I had was from a psychiatrist at Bootham, but that’s gone. I was told by doctors to go away and pull my socks up. My friend supported me and I’ve moved on to become a musician.”
Mr Niven, who is now composing Goth synthesiser music, previously appeared in The Press after his mother’s grave was vandalised in Fulford Cemetery earlier this year, and said that had not helped his mental state.
He said: “When my mum passed away and her grave was vandalised, I didn’t feel I could get any help. It’s a shame mum isn’t here to see me, she was a music teacher and I have used it as therapy.”
Mr Niven said he also felt the benefits system is exacerbating the problems suffered by people with mental illness.
He said: “I feel the benefits system is pushing people towards suicide. I’m trying to get off benefits as it’s humiliating. They haven’t got a clue, and I’m sick and tired of it, it’s making me depressed.
“Mental health problems aren’t recognised. If they can’t see an illness, you get no help. The system should recognise it more and more should be done to help out. It’s not an excuse to get out of work, it’s a serious issue. There might be some people out there faking it, but it could cost a life.”
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