‘No one should suffer in silence’: eventers discuss their mental health to urge others to speak up

Eventers Matthew Wright and Niall Fergusson have produced a video openly discussing mental health issues in aid of 2019’s Time to Talk Day (7 February).

Both riders say they have “suffered badly” from depression in the past and invited their supporters to send in questions about their own mental health concerns.

“We have both been at the point where we considered taking our own life. We can talk very openly about this together now and it helps,” H&H blogger Matt said. “We want to encourage others to speak out too about their own experiences with mental illness, to help others see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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In support of the initiative from Time to Change — an organisation campaigning to end mental health stigma and discrimination — Matt invited members of his Facebook page to email him questions that he and Niall could discuss.

“I thought it was better to discuss our own experiences based on people’s questions as it would lead to a much broader discussion on different subjects,” he said. “We both found it very emotional reading people’s questions, it was a very brave thing for them to do.”

Matt noted that depression has affected many people within the equestrian industry.

“It’s so easy to look normal on the outside, but be dying inside. To other people looking in, they think that person has a great life so they don’t understand the problem or reason behind it and would never suspect anything,” he said.

“I think if more people talk about it, without judging anybody, then more people will feel there’s always somebody to talk to. Together we have to try to reduce suicide rates and tackle mental illness.”

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“Nobody should suffer in silence,” he added. “We want to encourage other riders to speak out about their own insecurities, confidence issues or any other battles they’ve had and how they’ve overcome it. If we make something seem normal, it will make people feel much more secure in talking about it.”

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