Young man bravely speaks out to thank Milton Keynes mental health services for saving his life
A 28-year-old man who was saved from taking his own life is embarking upon a 2,000 mile motorbike ride to thank MK's mental health services.
Luke Radwell, 28, had suffered from severe depression in silence until 2018, when events forced him to seek help.
"I was drinking and abusing other substances to try to cover up how bad I felt. It didn't help, of course - in fact, it made it worse. Then one day it all got too much and I didn't fell my life was worth living at all.
Luke, who lives in Olney, made his way to a bridge and was poised to jump.
"Looking back now, I think it was a cry for help. Luckily a man driving a black BMW spotted me and stopped to ask me if I was okay.
"He called the emergency services and they got me down. To this day, I don't know who that man in the BMW was, but I'm very thankful to him."
Luke was sectioned to the city's Campbell Centre mental health unit, where he stayed for six days. Here, for the first time, he met with mental health professionals and began a course of treatment and therapy.
Since then the mental health services, run in MK by the Central North West London Trust (CNWL) NHS Trust, have become part of his life, helping him through the bad times.
"I haven't touched alcohol or drugs since I was admitted to the unit. I've always manged to work and my life since has been filled with many highs and lows. I still have bad times - recently I suffered a relationship break up and that was a real setback. I've suffered from depression, anxiety and more recently I even started to self-harm. But the mental health teams are always there for me.
"I can call the crisis team if things get bad and they're great. I can go to therapy groups after work and recently I've been having the NHS Talking Therapies. It's like there's always someone there to listen and lift me up when I'm down.
"I've had dealings with MK hospital too, and they've been really good."
Luke, who is a warehouse worker, now feels he wants to give something back to the teams who have helped him so much.
"I've always been a keen motorcyclist so I decided to do a sponsored motorcycle ride. I want to raise money to help CNWL help other people like myself see there's light at the end of the tunnel.
"If it wasn’t for them I probably wouldn’t be here today."
Luke added: "I also want to raise awareness of mental health problems, particularly in men, who are often too embarrassed to get the help they need. Yet one in four people in England will suffer some kind of mental health problem each year. I want them to know the mental health teams are great and there's nothing to be worried about."
He plans to ride his 600cc Yamaha R6 YZ6 from Milton Keynes hospital to Lands End in Cornwall and then to John O'Groats at the top of Scotland - a journey of 2,000 miles.
Not only does he plan to complete the epic journey in just three days, but he's deliberately chosen to do it in the winter - starting on December 1.
"I want to really challenge myself," he said. "Riding in the summer would be too easy!"
Luke's target is to raise £1,000. You can view his fundraising page here .
Suicide is preventable and support is available, such as Samaritans’ helpline. When life is difficult, the Samaritans are there – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit their website to find your nearest branch.