Matthew Smith

Hi, I am a 57-year-old male who has suffered from anxiety and depression since my late teens. I discovered that alcohol helped with my anxiety and became a heavy drinker. By my mid-thirties, I was alcohol dependent.

I ended up divorced and homeless. I attempted suicide twice and started to self-harm. Finally, I entered into treatment for my alcoholism. Gradually my drinking began to decrease, and I began to receive help for my mental health issues.

When I became more stable, I got involved in service user involvement activity on drug and alcohol abuse. I became a director for a small company that helped set up service user groups across Essex.

I also took the lead in a project where people in early recovery opened and ran a drop-in at a Colchester treatment centre. I am currently involved with a charity that helps people with mental health issues.

I have been involved with the Service User Reference Group (SURG ) for about two years. I am more than happy to help any students by sharing my experiences, good and bad, of my addiction and mental health issues.