Wiganer Jack hits right notes for mental health awareness
World Mental Health Day saw a plethora of messages posted on social media urging people to speak out.
But Wiganer Jack Dennis certainly did not expect the reaction he got when he posted his own message.
Other news: Petrol bomb attack leaves woman seriously burntHe recorded a video sharing his experiences and encouraging people to seek support for mental health issues, before singing Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.
He posted the video on Facebook and received a massive response.
Jack, who lives in Wigan town centre, said: “I have not had the best upbringing and I went through a bit of a dark patch. I was in depression for two or three years. It was horrible, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s not something I have ever experienced before.
“Luckily I met my partner 10 months ago and things changed dramatically.”
Jack said he has “slowly rebuilt” has life with support from girlfriend Nicola Cornish and felt compelled to do something to help other people.
He said: “I wanted to share my story and tell other lads it’s nothing to be scared of and people should speak out.
“I have lost a few people to suicide and I wanted to get my story across.”
The 21-year-old was inspired to do something after hearing the song played that day.
He said: “I was on the bus on the way home and this song came on and it’s always been very close to me.
“When I got home I thought I would just do it. It took quite a while for me to do it, but I just did it and I’m so glad I did.”
It was a big deal for Jack as while he has been singing for a while, it is mostly at home and on karaoke.
But he was moved to sing Iris because the song means so much to him.
“It’s the lyrics more than anything,” he said.
“It’s about not wanting people to see you because you don’t think they will understand what you are going through. A lot of people are afraid for that reason. With me singing on Facebook, it will make people more aware.”
The post has had a massive response, with the video watched 14,000 times in the first 24 hours alone.
By Monday, it had been viewed 22,000 times and shared by 320 Facebook users.
Scores of people commented on the Facebook post, many praising Jack for recording the video and some sharing their own mental health issues.
Jack, who works as a porter for a firm at Martland Park, said: “I didn’t expect it at all. I’m overwhelmed. I have had so many messages and people crying and asking for help. It’s quite overwhelming to be honest.”
Jack is keen to help other people now he is in a better position mentally.
He said: “I’m great now. I’m a lot better than I was 12 months ago.”
He hopes seeing the video will encourage people to seek help for depression and other mental illnesses.
Jack said: “I know there’s a lot of depression going and people are too scared to speak and I wanted to give people the courage to speak about how they are feeling. There are people out there they can talk to.
“They can speak to me at any point. If anyone is feeling like that, get in touch at any point.”
Samaritans are available to listen at any time. Call the charity’s free 24/7 helpline on 116 123 or ring 01942 492222.
Jack also recommended that people visit the R U OK MATE? Facebook group for support.