For Mental Health Awareness week, in May, HarperCollins UK were particularly interested to hear from a middle-aged straight white man…

Because we aren’t as loud about mental health, apparently, as we can be about other things.

Not long before the talk was scheduled to happen, I learned that it was being opened up to News UK, including my former colleagues on The Times and The Sunday Times.

I was both delighted and terrified. I was scared to share what still feels raw and shameful with people I know.

But it helped, because two or three weeks ago one of my editors at The Times phoned to ask if I could write something, and I just casually mentioned having had a breakdown last year.

She said, “Oh, I didn’t know!”

“Well, it’s not something I went around shouting from the rooftops,” I said. “But I seem to be happy to tell you now.”

I wouldn’t have told her if HarperCollins hadn’t invited News UK to my talk. And telling her led to me writing about my experience in The Times (see this). And it gave me the courage yesterday to email journalists I know, telling them it would be nice to see a friendly face.

Almost immediately, I received a message of encouragement from one national newspaper editor.

Then similar messages from others.

I was well looked after by the lovely people at HarperCollins, who asked great questions at the end, and also asked my permission before tweeting this:

Fantastic talk from @jpflintoff this morning as part of our #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek ‘From High Flyer to Rock Bottom’ – Brutally honest and eye opening! Do check JP out on his website— HarperCollins Jobs (@JobsAtHarper) May 14, 2019