"It felt like nothing I had ever known. It sounds so melodramatic but I didn't think anyone had ever felt like that. It was intense panic combined with overwhelming, exhausting, 24/7 despair. I saw no way out. It would have been suicide, because it felt like the only way to escape—like jumping out of a burning building. But the one thing bigger than depression is time," he says. "Depression told me I wouldn't live to see 25. I'm now 39."As VICE has reported before, 50 percent of all illnesses reported by under 65s are mental health-related, but only a quarter of sufferers received any help whatsoever. Ninety percent of those who attempt to take their own lives suffer from a mental health condition, diagnosed or not.In Britain, 4,400 people die by suicide each year, but a further ten times that number attempt suicide. On average, this could mean someone in this country is attempting to take his or her own life roughly every 12 minutes. More people below the age of 35 die from suicide in this country than, say, road traffic accidents. Of men aged between 20-34, suicide counts for almost a quarter of all deaths. In 2012, 600,000 people reached out to the Samaritans expressing suicidal feelings. In 2014, figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that 9 percent of jobseekers between 16-25 agreed with the statement, "I have nothing to live for." 32 percent had contemplated suicide.
The stigma that still surrounds mental illness can latch onto negative thoughts like a leech, forming a destructive, symbiotic relationship.
Mental health issues can begin at any time and not fully manifest until many years later. "When I was 12 my father passed away and then I was bullied quite severely," says Jaabir. "I felt extremely alienated. I was very hard on myself and felt I was flawed in some way. I blamed myself for being bullied and carried that self-loathing all my life. I thought it was normal, that everybody felt like that. Everyone hates themselves, right?"
"Depression and anxiety have a lot of symptoms below the neck, just as many physical illnesses have mental effects. We need to talk about mental health exactly as we talk about physical health. No one is 100 percent physically or mentally healthy."—Matt Haig