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A celebrity-backed campaign for mental health

"This campaign means the world to me, and I say to people who support the DBT For All campaign who sign the petition, you're helping to prevent suicides - you are helping to save a life." Those are the words of mental health campaigner John Junior.

Known as John and Charlie's Journey they have launched the DBT for all campaign and a petition to make dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) more widely available on the NHS for everyone throughout the UK.

John and Charlie's Journey raises awareness for mental health. They travel the UK to encourage others to talk instead of worry about judgement and stigma. John is accompanied by Charlie who is a stuffed duck providing John with comfort from past traumas.

Scottish professional golfer, Carly Booth, is giving her support to John and Charlie's campaign.

You cannot get this life-changing DBT therapy unless you tick a certain box. In reality you have to be sectioned under the mental health act - or pay privately.  It is rare for local NHS areas support it.

The reason for the campaign and petition is that John struggled to get DBT therapy for himself so decided to start a national campaign.

Rt Hon Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, is supporting the DBT For All campaign and helping John Junior get a debate at Westminster.

The Wilmslow resident who has lived with depression, borderline personality disorder and other mental health for more than 20 years, said: "This life-changing therapy would not only change their world but also help thousands if not millions of others across the UK."

DBT is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy. It tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioural changes.

It is used to treat people with depression, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and eating disorders.

DBT is used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviours, and it is adapted for people who feel emotions intensely.

John who is 31 years old, gender-fluid and uses the pronouns they/them, said: "Why do you think people leave suicide notes? Because they feel like they cannot express how they feel due to being deemed as an 'attention seeker' and worried to speak out incase of judgement.

"I have left wrote and left suicide notes and I felt I could not talk because I was deemed as an 'attention seeker'. 

"If people keep saying we are seeking attention, we are more likely to remain silent and when we have a suicidal thought or plan we will not tell anyone."

Award-winning Sir Marco Robinson, friend of John, is supporting their DBT for all campaign and has expressed on the video made for the campaign that he was close to suicide himself.

"I wake up every morning wanting to die," said John. "I have suicidal thoughts and everything. I think about jumping off a bridge or hanging myself. It makes me feel better that there is an escape from this hell I am going through every single day, struggling alone and no help, but I distract myself and keep busy. It's hell, but I push through it, and you can push through it as well.

"I have tried to take my own life many times and I am so glad I didn't die. I am so glad that I have the will and strength to fight for the people, to serve others and get DBT therapy for everyone who needs it.

"Sign the petition today and help make history and be part of prevention of suicide."

John wrote and recorded a song - which gives hope.

The song Inside a BPD mind, is borderline personality disorder, depression and the lyrics really connect with others who suffer with suicidal thoughts. "There is also a message at the end of the song which is that there is hope, and it's called DBT."

Brian McFadden amd Keith Duffy raising awareness with John and Charlie

Keith Duffy (Boyzone) and Brian Mcfadden (Westlife) invited John and Charlie up on stage on their Boyzlife tour to share with their fans what they are doing to raise awareness for mental health and encourage others to talk instead of suffering in silence because of judgement and stigma.

Real Housewives of Cheshire star Tanya Bardsley supports John and Charlies Journey and the have collaborated to raise awareness for mental health.

John and Charlie speak to more than 1,000 people per week who are suicidal via their Instagram @johnandcharlie_.  "I even know nurses who have tried to take their own life during lockdown who haven't been able to access DBT," said John.

"My motivation is serving the people, helping others, that's what keeps me going.

"There may be a friend, partner, family member or child who is suffering alone in silence due to the worry they will be put down with a negative reply from you saying they are an ‘attention seeker'. Please if someone comes to you and says they are suicidal comfort them and don't say they are seeking attention. If you need advice please ring The Samaritans or MIND, they can help further," John said.

John’s petition is located at www.change.org/dbtherapy4everyone

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John Junior, based in Wilmslow, Cheshire is available for interviews, videos, Zoom calls/chats and telephone calls. 

Their music can be heard at www.soundcloud.com/johnandcharliesjourney 

Instagram: @johnandcharlie_ @dbtforallcampaign

Twitter: @johnandcharlie_

Website: www.johnandcharlie.co.uk

Facebook: johnandcharliesjourney 

Petition: www.change.org/dbtherapy4everyone

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat borderline personality disorder. There is evidence that DBT can be useful in treating mood disorders, suicidal ideation, and for change in behavioural patterns such as self-harm and substance abuse.

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