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Supporting mental health – Jamie’s story

Diespeker has long been a supporter of teenage mental health charity stem4. But we also provide support closer to home.

One of our younger employees who joined us to work in the factory nine years’ ago is Jamie Batt. Jamie’s brother Dave also works at Diespeker.

Sadly, Jamie developed an eating disorder as a result, he feels, of problems he experienced as a teenager: facing many difficulties at school, lacking self-esteem as well as relationship problems. Jamie found himself spiralling down. At first, his condition wasn’t recognised by his GPs, even when his mum and dad went to them to ask for help. “They were told that men don’t get eating disorders,” Jamie explains.

Fortunately, one duty doctor that Jamie went to see recognised the severity of his condition immediately. He told Jamie that he needed to go for an ECG straight away. Jamie’s treatment and his road to recovery started at that moment – all it took was one doctor to believe him.

At this stage, Jamie was told that if he hadn’t got help, he could have been dead within a week. But we’re pleased to say that he did receive help, at Maudsley psychiatric hospital, St George’s Hospital and from Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service in Chelsea where he was an inpatient. Treatment included CBT, which he says helped a lot, and meal replacement and support.

Jamie’s family, his mum, dad and brother Dave gave him huge amounts of encouragement, as did Diespeker MD John Krause who told Jamie that there would always be a job for him at the company. In fact, Jamie came into work when he could, between stays in hospital.

Jamie was discharged in 2018 and started back at Diespeker full time in May 2019. “At first it was two days a week, and now I’m up to four.” He says he has his physical health back, and his mental health is now in a good place. Jamie provides general help in the factory as he works to build his confidence up again. He has also been responsible for some wonderful innovations, including a stunning sculpture (see below) which we hope to add to our new Diespeker Living collection in the future.

Jamie’s story began from unhappiness in his teenage years, which we are now all too aware is the age when so many young people start to experience mental health issues.

How can we help? Sometimes, like Jamie’s family, we can provide all the support needed to help someone through. And sometimes, like Diespeker, we can just let that someone know that having mental health issues doesn’t change our opinion of them and that the door is always open. Everyone at Diespeker is delighted to have him back and we are all extremely proud of him.

We asked Jamie if we could publish his story to highlight the fact that mental health applies to us all, even someone working in a stone factory in South East London! If you are suffering from mental health problems of any sort, please seek help. For teenagers we recommend visiting the stem4 website where you will find lots of advice.

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