A Monifieth man who went public with his depression battle now wants to carve out a successful political career.
St Andrews University student Ben Lawrie was speaking a year after he decided to reveal an attempt to take his own life in 2013.
He said he now intends to stand for the Lib Dems in Angus at the council elections next year and hopes to increase awareness of mental health issues.
Ben struggled with depression while studying social sciences at Dundee College, despite doing really well in his coursework and being in a happy relationship.
After trying to commit suicide Ben made a blog post about his struggles and was overwhelmed by the reaction it received.
Marking the one-year anniversary of going public, he said his fears of speaking out couldn’t have been more unfounded.
“Within a fortnight, over 6,000 people had read my blog and I received dozens of messages from strangers thanking me for coming out with my story,” he said.
“Being open about my experiences hasn’t made me subject to the ridicule I feared it would, but has actually opened doors for me.”
Ben decided to run in a by-election for the Scottish Youth Parliament with a manifesto based on raising awareness of mental illness and improving support for young people in north-east Fife.
He said: “My defeat in the Scottish Youth Parliament by-election didn’t deter me from being involved in the world of politics, however.
“I’m hoping to be a candidate for the council elections in Angus next year, and with any luck I’ll be able to continue increasing awareness and support for mental health as a councillor. Through politics I managed to meet the former minister of state for care and support, Norman Lamb, who was very impressed by the work I’ve been doing.
“Norman has been a champion for raising awareness of mental health issues and to have his support was absolutely amazing.”
Ben is currently working on a documentary about his experiences with Dundee filmmaker Stuart Burns, based on the blog he wrote last year.
He said: “While I still struggle with depression and anxiety, the work I’ve been doing to help other people going through similar problems has been a great source of strength for me.
“There still is a great deal of stigma attached to mental illness and I firmly believe that the best way to tackle this is to keep talking about it.
“If you’re struggling with mental illness, you don’t need to man up, just open up. Trust me people are nicer than you think.”