On Monday 1st May, alongside Nottingham Forest Football Club, we started our new mental health campaign, It’s Tricky Talk, to encourage fans to talk more openly about mental health problems and seek support after hearing the heart-breaking stories of Forest fans, Jonathan McCartney and William Garvey who sadly took their own lives.

Since the launch of the programme we have been amazed by the support of so many different people including lifelong Nottingham Forest Fan, Sean Payne, who wanted to share his story to try and help others who might resonate with aspects of his life.

Sean who is now 27, said that he’s always been a ‘typical guy who likes his football and his rugby’, was up for a bit of a laugh and generally just led a normal life. But for as long as he could remember his moods and emotions were always slightly intense, explaining that ‘when he was happy he was extremely happy but when he was low, he was very low.’ He didn’t take much notice of this until the age of 20 when unfortunately Sean was told he had kidney disease. The news left him feeling incredibly down and although he had moments of feeling good, after a year had passed, Sean knew something wasn’t right. Sean would have long periods of time where he wouldn’t want to get out of bed, leave the house or talk to anyone (not even his family or friends). He lost his appetite, losing a lot of weight and at times, lost sight of future happiness believing that he would always feel as low as he did at that point in time.

Although extremely nervous about how people would react and not knowing what what was going to happen, Sean took the crucial first step and decided to talk to someone about it. After speaking to his parents and being referred to a therapist Sean was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety. Sean explained that, ‘the fear of the unknown and not knowing whats going to happen was so scary for me but taking that plunge and talking to someone was the best thing I’ve ever done.’

Sean really didn’t know how his parents would take it but went on to say that his mum is now his ‘absolute rock’ and his ‘old fashioned’ dad who he never thought he’d be able to go to about anything like this, has been so supportive. ‘Even if he didn’t get it at first or still might not understand it, he recognises my different moods, knows how to deal with them and is always there. I can now honestly talk to him about anything and since I first told him, we’ve been closer than ever.’

Your mental health can have a huge affect on your life, it caused Sean to drop out of his masters degree, leave his job as a carer, he’d feel guilty about the tiniest of things which he would replay over and over again in his head, and so much more. Sean knows how torturous it can be which is why he is so passionate about wanting people to get that support which he now has. He wants others to realise that although he still lives with depression and anxiety thanks to his support network he can now self manage his emotions and except how is he feeling at that time knowing that there is always an end and it won’t last forever.

Sean says that he hopes his story and campaigns like ‘It’s Tricky To Talk’ gets people to take that initial step and speak to someone because ‘it really does help.’

To find out more about ‘It’s Tricky To Talk’ click here.