The idea of the Kingston Living Library is that you can borrow a person to speak to about their lived experience rather than borrowing a book. Thereby helping others to understand the impact mental illness can have on people’s lives and to reduce the stigma.

The Champions wanted to share their experiences virtually to give people the option of learning more about mental health from the comfort of their own home.

On this page, you will find Champion’s written stories and audio recordings on various mental health topics, talking from their personal experiences. If you would like to learn more about someone’s story, simply click on their page. 

We hope you find it interesting and informative!  We regularly organise Living Library events throughout the year, where you will get the opportunity to speak with our Champions in person. Our upcoming events are advertised here.

Eli

I am a classically trained musician and music teacher. I love going to the theatre and music concerts. I have been living with a mental health condition for 15 years. It is important to me to reduce the stigma which comes with mental health conditions.

Read                       Listen

Marie

I’m a mum to a fifteen-year-old daughter, and I work in mental health for the charity Mind. I also live with bipolar disorder. In my spare time I love spending time with my dogs and drinking tea.

Read                       Listen

Martin

I have bipolar 1, plus potentially forensic tonic-clonic temporal lobe epilepsy and I'm awaiting a probable adult ADHD diagnosis. I enjoy writing poetry, creating abstract art, being with wildlife, listening to improvisational music, documentaries and sudoku.

Read

Rachel

I love podcasts, travelling and disappearing into a good book. I juggle three jobs: working in mental health, in schools and as a massage therapist. I experience episodes of severe and mild depression and live with general anxiety disorder.

Read                       Listen

Ryan

I love art and design as well as broadcasting, which I learned at the BBC in Birmingham, where I grew up. Depression hit me in 2008 during the economic downturn where life got really difficult, but I found a way out, that gave me grit for life. 

Read                       Listen

Sarah

I am a bespoke tailor and I enjoy photography as a hobby, using mainly film cameras. I have suffered from anxiety since the age of 11 and have post traumatic stress disorder from two separate incidents.

Read                       Listen

Sheena

I always knew that I was different from other people. I didn’t know why until I was diagnosed with ADHD at 47. I started a support group called Fastminds where we support each other and I sing in 3 choirs - it’s my therapy.

Read                       Listen

Tony

I’m passionate about community-led projects and making things happen that grow my own wellbeing and the wellbeing of people around me. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

Read                        Listen

Mark

I have lived in Kingston for many years and I'm a Royal Borough of Kingston councillor with a focus on community mental health. I have battled depression for much of my adult life but thankfully I now feel more in control of my mental wellbeing.

Read Listen

Fabian

Overwhelming feelings of work-related anxiety led Fabian to a complete loss of self-confidence, followed by depression and, ultimately, thoughts of taking his own life. Facing and fighting his fears is a constant battle, he shares his story and the tips he uses to cope, in the hope it might help others.