Best-selling author speaks out for SWR Mind.

19th May 2015


New York Times best-selling children’s author, screenwriter and broadcaster Yorkshire’s GP Taylor has spoken of his battle with mental illness and his attempt to kill himself at the height of his career to highlight the plight of Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind.

The ex- Church of England vicar turned author (55), who lives in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, found fame when his first novel Shadowmancer became an international best-seller. His books have since been translated into 51 languages around the world.

A film of one of his best-selling books – The Adventurer the Curse of the Midas Box - starring actors Sam Neill, Michael Sheen, Aneurin Barnard, Lena Headley, Ioan Gruffudd and Keeley Hawes, is currently topping viewing on Sky Movies Premiere and has been watched by millions.

For the first time, Graham Peter Taylor, has spoken of how he attempted suicide following a long bout of depression brought on after an attack by a gang of men while he was working as a police officer in Pickering, North Yorkshire, left him suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In 1994, he was seriously assaulted by the gang and sustained both physical and mental injuries that meant he had to leave his job.

Dogged by depression and nightmares of the attack, he took up writing while serving as Vicar of Cloughton, but even at the height of his success as he signed book deals worth millions of pounds with publishers Faber and Faber, he could not escape from the grip of mental illness.

Late one Sunday evening Graham, who later left the church to pursue his career in writing full time, decided to kill himself, but thankfully his attempt was thwarted and with the help of his family and support workers he made a slow recovery.

Now he has bravely spoken about the debilitating effects of mental ill health and how people need support during their darkest hours and during their recovery process at a time when mental health spending nationally is reducing.

Graham wants to highlight the lifesaving work we do in helping to support 1,000 people every year with mental health problems.

We are are facing closure due to a financial crisis and unless we raise the remaining £6,000 of our £20,000 target in just two weeks, we will close our doors for good.

Graham said: “In my darkest hour I was living in hell. I couldn’t see a way out. I’ve only managed to get through it with the help of my family, counselling and support for my mental health.

“If SWR Mind closes it is a matter of life and death as this charity helps people who are experiencing a mental health crisis who are desperate for help.

“A lot of vulnerable isolated people who rely on the charity for support with things like going out, medication and paying bills will be left with nowhere to turn at a time when there is little support elsewhere.

“I’d urge everyone to support this charity and help save it from closure. It could be disastrous for the people living in Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale. What other help is there, very little.”

We have been established since 1962, employ 17 staff and have 60 volunteers on our books.

We run seven projects in Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale, North Yorkshire, helping people with one to one support, groups, a telephone helpline, finance, debt and housing advice and volunteering opportunities.

Our charity is in crisis due to funding cuts and has to raise our own cash to provide its support services as we are not funded by Mind charity shops or the national charity, which we are only affiliated to in name.

If we hit our target through our Save SWR Mind Crisis Appeal, the charity will have time to secure the £80,000 we need to sustain our long-term future.

Head of services for SWR Mind Sophie Hall said: “We are desperate for donations, however big or small it is not too late to support us.

"We have been helping people for 50 years now and we can secure our future with your help. As Graham's experience shows, mental health does not discriminate."