Author and blogger Matthew Williams will visit North Wales to headline a series of events for University Mental Health Day.
Matthew will give a free talk, followed by a Q&A and book signing at Wrexham Glyndwr University on March 1.
His debut collection – Something Changed: Stumbling through Divorce, Dating and Depression – has been well-received by customers and critics alike, and more than 100 people are already set to be in attendance when he appears at the Nick Whitehead Theatre.
An advocate for mental health awareness, the dad-of-two has battled his own demons and continues to do so.
By writing his thoughts down, including the pain he went through on divorce and subsequent dating, Matthew has undergone something of a catharsis.
Depression is a bedfellow he admits will always be with him, but through acceptance, counselling and inner strength he is learning to control those feelings.
“It’s a great honour to be appearing at Wrexham Glyndwr university, and to have the opportunity to speak to people about the journey I’ve been on,” said the 42 year-old, a supporter of University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing degree.
“In a very short time I’ve gone from writing blogs to publishing a book, which was a huge step for me as I was basically laying my life out there for people to judge and explore, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – the response has been unbelievable.”
He added: “I’m passionate about the things that matter to me, about the life I create for my children and the difference I can make in the world, the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health and being able to help people that are struggling feel a little less alone.
“In becoming a writer and a blogger I have learned that the actual writing is only part of the picture. It is undoubtedly the thing that matters most – after all, if that isn’t any good none of the rest of it matters – but if you are going to get your writing in front of people then you need to connect with others.”
Matthew is looking forward to connecting with the audience in Wrexham, and to sharing his own highs and lows.
As a Boxing Club Support Officer for England Boxing, he uses analogies from the sport in tandem with the stories of others, and the heart-wrenching, delicate and at times hilarious recollections that fill the pages of the book.
He is also working with the charity Mind to address and tackle mental health in boxing, and trying to make a difference to the way fighters deal with problems in and out of the ring. “The publication of my book has given me an opportunity that I may never have again, to change my life for the better,” he said.
“I know why I’m doing this, and nothing means more to me than the messages I receive from my readers telling me that my writing has made a difference to them. There is no greater satisfaction than that.
“I am really looking forward to getting to know the audience on the night, and to hearing their stories. Talking about things has helped me a lot, and I hope that proves to be the case for them as well.”
University Mental Health Day is the national campaign to focus efforts on promoting the mental health of people who live, work and study in Higher Education settings.