An estimated one in four people will experience a mental health problem in the next 12 months.

It is now 10 years since Mike Wilson’s world fell apart.

He had, unbeknown to him, been suffering from depression and had a complete mental breakdown on October 7, 1999.

He spent more than two months in hospital, contemplating suicide on several occasions because he felt he could not go on.

But over the last decade he has gradually turned his life around.

Mr Wilson, aged 50, of Ash Grove, Heaton, now does volunteer work, including helping other mental health patients with charity MhIST, Mental Health Independent Support Team.

He said: “I was frightened. Like a lot of people, I thought if you had a mental health problem you were a lunatic and got locked away for good. But it wasn’t like that.

“There is still a lot stigma around mental health problems. People don’t talk about them although they are very common. We talk about cancer, why not mental health?

“I’m very open about it, depression is part of who I am and will always be with me. I’m learning to live with it and I say I am on the road to recovery.”

In the summer of 1999, Mr Wilson started to feel unwell, with symptoms including hearing voices, panic attacks, not eating and being unable to sleep.

By the October, Mr Wilson, who has been married to Lesley for 28 years and has an autistic daughter, Danielle, aged 25, saw his doctor and was admitted to the Royal Bolton Hospital.

After eight weeks he returned home and, with medication, community support and MhIST, he slowly rebuilt his life.

He is passionate about helping others going through similar experiences, and also does church and youth work.

Mr Wilson said: “There is help out there, so please seek it as soon as possible. You might not get cured, but you can get better. But you’ve got to take the first step and get help.

“For me life really did begin at 40.”