John Bishop from Malvern was diagnosed with an aggressive form of head and neck cancer at the age of 42. He told the Gazette about his battle with the disease and the affect on his mental health.

At the age of 42 you don’t think about the unthinkable. My life as I knew it collapsed around me. Having cancer twice brings with it many different feelings, the disease not only affects your body but also your mental wellbeing.

The feelings of crisis created by the illness are an important and natural part of the process. It is a bit like starring at a staircase – you don’t always see the whole staircase, but as long as you can see that first step, your heading in the right direction.

I began to realise I was not alone. I was getting so much support from friends, family and work colleagues. I gained so much strength from those around me.

It made me look at life from a broader perspective. Acceptance is the hardest, but the most important thing. But it is only then that your mental recovery can start properly.

The last two-and-a-half years have been exhausting, but I’ve got there – one small step at a time. Slowly getting to the top of my staircase, that’s been my goal. Surrounded by so many people, I’ve found strength in the strangest of places. Help is out there, and I can honestly say today I am stronger than I have ever been before.

John, who works for Morgan Cars, is supporting the Now We’re Talking campaign which is being run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust to raise awareness of Healthy Minds, a free, self-referral service which helps people aged 16 and over who are experiencing common mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, low mood or depression – issues which affect 50,000 people in Worcestershire alone.

One of the causes of mental health issues can be dealing with a physical health condition, such as cancer.

The Healthy Minds service can help people struggling with mental health to access community support, group support sessions which run across the county, online courses and if required more traditional one-to-one counselling.

John is now in remission but takes steps to maintain his mental wellbeing and is a big advocate of opening up and talking to those around you.

“There are many things that help me maintain a healthy mind," he said. "I lead a very active, busy life.

"I have learnt that talking not only helps others but it helps me too. Don’t delay if you are struggling with stress, anxiety, low mood or depression, there is help out there.”

For more information, visit or call the team on 01905 766124.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter @NowWereTalking and on Facebook @NowWereTalkingWorcs