LGBTQ+ Mental Health Hero of the Week: Davey Shields

A white man with a short beard and glasses wearing a blue t-shirt that says 'Men Talk Health'. He is smiling and looking to the left of the frame.

Davey Shields is the creator of the MenTalkHealth podcast, a show where he talks with co-host Damien and a variety of guests about mental health issues. His openness and honesty about his own struggles, and successes, with mental health issues inspire others to similarly open up. Not only does this help the individual sharing, but it also demonstrates that other people facing similar struggles are not alone.

We asked Davey to answer a few questions for us.

Why is mental health important to the LGBTQ+ community?

When I talk about mental health, it’s something I want everyone to realise we ALL have. Just like physical health. And like physical health it can vary as to how healthy each of us are.

Mental health doesn’t discriminate and so anyone can find themselves overwhelmed by their own thoughts.

Where it matters specifically to our LGBTQ+ community is that we are a community that was previously in the shadows. We grew out of prejudice, secrets, fear and self-loathing. We are still learning how to be kinder to ourselves and each other. We have specific battles, internal and external, in our community that can have a huge impact on our individual self-worth, our self-image and our overall mental health.

Talking about how we are feeling, reaching out and supporting each other is the best way we can take care of one another.

But isn’t that good advice for everyone. Regardless of the sexuality or gender (or race or any thing else)?

Be Kind.

What inspired you to start the MenTalkHealth podcast?

With my own battles with suicide and suicidal thoughts, I struggled to see why I should try to recover. I needed a purpose and I needed that purpose to justify what I had nearly done and and the impact my actions had had on those around me.

The podcast was my way of telling my story, laughing about my story, naming my struggles and making something positive out of something negative. If just one person was helped by my words, then it made what I had gone through worth while. That was key to my recovery.

Something that nearly killed me has, hopefully gone on the save others. What could be more poetic then that.

You can donate to MindOut here. To nominate someone as a Queer Mental Health Hero, email [email protected] Watch Facebook and Twitter (#QueerMentalHealthHero) to see each week’s nominee.