Black History Month: Henry’s story

For Black History Month 2020 Henry shares his story with you about living with depression.

*Trigger warning: this story mentions suicide*

"Ill-health grew roots in my story around the year 2015. Living off bad food and no sleep with impending deadlines on the fifth floor of a university flat, little did I know I wouldn’t be able to complete my degree due to episodes of depression.

Everybody told me that university would be the best years of my life, but the loneliness I endured was more painful than anything I’d imagined. I was struggling to make friends and I didn’t feel as though I belonged anywhere. I could sense that there was something wrong with me, but when the masses are insistent you should be having a blast, you assume these moods needn’t be taken seriously.

That was until I missed one lecture. And then another. Then a deadline. Then the eating stopped. Then the illogical terror of going outside wrapped itself around me and I would go weeks without being seen, struggling with the basics of hygiene.

I cannot remember when the suicidal tendencies started, but I remember the suicide notes and the weight loss. A sleeping pattern which seemingly disappeared into a void along with all remnants of peace, joy and structure. I remember calling the Samaritans hotline and bursting into tears to an operator whose name I will never recall.

The tearswere pretty non-stop for a while. This is the part of university nobody eloquently addressed at the time. I was in counselling for three years. I had to retake several years and even then, I still had to drop out.

This is one of the biggest pandemics Britain has faced in a generation. The everyday battles black Brits face merely compound the effect. All we can continue to do is to encourage our brethren in the black community to continue to seek help and to make treatment more accessible to everyone in our community, especially those who have been exposed to the traumas many of us grew up with.”

Explore these resources for support, education and empowerment: 

Need support?

  • Samaritans are available 24/7 for free on 116 123 (UK).