Liam Francis Collins, 31, is an actor from Manchester who is passionate in his advocacy for openness surrounding mental health struggles.
“Up until I was 21 I didn’t really understand what depression was. It didn’t make sense to me.” Liam explained.
“It’s sort of a suffocation of the mind. You can’t just stop, and that’s the hardest thing.”
During his ten-year battle with mental health issues - initially triggered by a series of upsetting events that occurred within a three-month period - Liam has discovered a plethora of helpful techniques and resources including therapy, yoga and exercise.
“I think it definitely helped me.” Liam explains, speaking of his experience with therapy. “Just talking to someone - it’s going to help a great deal. No matter how you feel - if you’ve got that willingness to be open and speak to someone it does the world of good.”
Liam also leans heavily on physical activities to support him in his struggles with his mental health.
“When I first started yoga [I realised that] not only was it good for the body and the muscles, but for the discipline and the mind. It was the best thing I ever did. There have [also] been so many times when I’ve woken up and I did feel really down [but] I felt so much better just from going for a run. That’s my medicine - I need to do exercise. I’m convinced that it helps - without a shadow of a doubt.”
Not content with just helping himself, Liam also put his talents to good use in 2019 when he wrote and starred in his award-winning debut short film - “My Toughest Battle“. The short film follows a young boxer who is plagued by mental health issues, and is now used in schools and colleges to educate young people on the importance of speaking out when struggling with their mental health.
Liam is now confident in being open and unashamed of his struggles, and hopes that one day everyone can feel that way too.
“I hope that we can get to a place one day where talking about our own mental health is as normal as talking about the weather, or ‘what did you do today?’ at the dinner table. I’d love that to be the case [in] the future.”
Watch Liam’s Story here;
If you’re struggling with your own mental health, there are many places to seek support.