A LEAD singer from Greater Manchester and former Bolton student has opened up about his battle with mental health as part of an NHS campaign.

In behind-the-scenes footage, Max George from The Wanted talks about how when he finally got help for his mental health struggles, it was ‘the best’ he had ever ‘felt in terms of treatment’.

Max first teamed up with the NHS in a now-viral video as part of their ‘Help’ mental health campaign.

The campaign uses the words of The Beatles’ song ‘Help’ to encourage those struggling with their mental health, to reach out for support via NHS talking therapies.

In the clip, Max said: “The very first time I spoke to someone was probably the best I felt in terms of treatment that I’ve ever had.

“Just explaining how I felt, and her letting me know that it was okay to feel that way and that it was normal to me; that was mad to me.

“I couldn’t believe that somebody was so understanding of that.

“And now whenever I have those problems, because of her actually, I know how to deal with it a little bit better.”

Through releasing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage discussing his personal mental health story, Max and the NHS hope to show that anyone can experience feelings of depression and anxiety and that it’s totally normal to ask for help. 

The campaign aims to tackle misconceptions about seeking NHS support for mental health concerns, showing that the NHS is here for people’s mental health, even during the pandemic, and you don’t need a GP referral or a diagnosis in order to get support from a trained NHS therapist. 

Max said: “I know from personal experience that when you feel down, you feel that nobody can help you.

“The most down I ever felt was actually when I had achieved everything I ever wanted as a musician, and yet I had to admit that I wasn’t happy.

“But when I explained to a therapist how I felt, they let me know it was normal and it was just mad to me that someone was so understanding.

“I really encourage everyone that is feeling down, anxious or depressed to please reach out to the NHS - they can change your life.”  

UK music and radio icons including Craig David, Tom Grennan, Laura Mvula, Nicola Roberts, Ella Henderson and Max George recently came together to star in the powerful new mental health film, released by NHS England and NHS Improvement. 

The campaign launched at a time when mental health concerns were as pertinent as ever, following the results of a new survey of 3,000 people across the UK.

The survey revealed that men were far less likely to have reported mental health concerns in the past year than women.

For example, only 39% of male respondents reported experiencing anxiety, compared with 59% of females, while 38% of males reported experiencing low mood or depression, compared with 52% of females. 

Men however were less likely than women to spot the signs that someone could benefit from professional mental health support.

The Bolton News: Max George NHS HelpMax George NHS Help

For example, 57% of men identified low mood and depression as such a sign, compared with 68% of females, and only 48% of males thought someone experiencing obsessive thoughts or behaviours would benefit from professional help, compared with 60% of females. 

Both genders plan to focus more on their mental health this year, but males are less likely to see this as a priority (54% vs 65%).