AN OXFORD man who struggled with depression is calling on others to seek help at a time when cases of suicide are on the rise.

Official statistics published last week reveal that the suicide rate went up significantly last year in England and Wales for the first time since 2013, with men representing three quarters of the total.

Suicide rates in Oxfordshire are lower than the national average and between 2016 and 2018 there were a total of 155 deaths by suicide in Oxfordshire. Of these, the county council said, 126 were men.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day Oxford man Erochsia Joseph has opened up about feelings of isolation and what helped him through his darkest times.

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The 37-year old plasterer is now encouraging other men to speak out and get help at a time when suicide is on the increase.

Speaking of his experience he said: "When I was younger no-one spoke about their feelings and definitely wouldn’t admit to feeling depressed, so I never spoke about it I just kept it all in, bottled up.

“As I got older I realised I wasn’t the only person that felt like this.

"A close friend of mine, who I used to play football with, recently died by suicide and it has had a massive impact on the community.

"This is the main reason I am speaking out to share my experiences but also to encourage people to talk to someone and don’t keep it bottled up. "

Mr Joseph said he knew something was wrong when he felt like he couldn’t be bothered to socialise or engage.

He said: “I had no motivation, I had lost my appetite and no love for the activities and things I usually enjoyed, I felt in a really dark place. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.

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“I had been feeling this way for a while, but it was getting worse. I was working a lot and had been burning the candle at both ends, I felt exhausted.

“I knew I had to speak to someone as I didn’t know why I felt like this, but something was wrong, and I didn’t want to feel this way.

“I eventually spoke to a couple of people that were older than me, people that I trusted. They signposted me to various places including Talking Space[s] and suggested talking to my GP.”

When he got professional help, he was diagnosed with depression and started talking therapy with local service Talking Space.

With support from friends, family and Oxfordshire services he says he has now started the journey to getting better.

Oxfordshire County Council is now hosting a survey asking residents across the county what they think about suicide prevention servies.

To take part in the survey, which opened this morning, visit