A FORMER patient who battled depression and anxiety for years has thanked therapy services for helping him live again.

As part of the celebration for World Mental Health Day on Saturday, David Bryceland said Oxfordshire Mind and TalkingSpace were “incredible” in helping him recover from his mental health problems.

The 49-year-old from Bicester spoke of his admiration for the services after meeting minister for community and social care Alistair Burt MP, who visited the Oxfordshire Mind offices in Osney Mead on Thursday to meet workers and former patients.

Mr Bryceland, who now works in the benefits department of Oxfordshire Mind, said: “I’m in a unique position because I’m an employee of Oxfordshire Mind and I’ve used TalkingSpace.

“I suffered from depression and anxiety for over 20 years and for the first eight years I was unable to get any help.

“There were times when I was suicidal. There were times when the world did not make sense to me – I could not understand it.

“There were days when I could not get out of bed, some days I could not leave the house. But it all started to change once I got some help.”

Mr Bryceland said TalkingSpace – a service which offers a range of therapies that have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of common problems such as depression and anxiety – was “incredible”.

He added: “TalkingSpace for me was incredible. It allowed me to take the time to realise what I was going through and start my recovery. It did not try to solve everything at once.

“When I met with the therapist we focused on areas that I was able to work on myself rather than getting told what to do.

“The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies scheme gave me examples of other people who had similar issues to me.”

The Bicester resident also said he felt lucky to get his job and thanked Oxfordshire Mind for its support.

He said services were under “enormous” pressure and that there were still thousands of people who needed support.

He added: “The pressure is enormous because the demand for services which has been unmet for is phenomenal.”

Mr Burt said employers needed to be trained to deal with staff suffering mental health issues after visiting Oxfordshire Mind.

He added that the short answer on whether employers knew how to deal with mental issues was “no”.

The health minister praised the work of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, a Government scheme expected to treat 5,500 people in Oxfordshire over the next year.