How a former Hutton Grammar School teacher has discussed his mental health battle in his new book - Downtime

Written by James Holt. A retired teacher from Preston has completed his 10-year goal to write a book about his journey with mental health and will be giving all the profits to charity.

By James Holt
Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 7:12 pm

John Stopford, 69, has recently self-published his book Downtime after he first thought of the idea in 2010.

In a tale of triumph over adversity, the story follows John’s battle with mental illness whilst trying to negotiate a teaching career at Hutton Grammar School.

He said: “The book is a history of my mental illness. It’s an observation about when I was a teacher and some of the things I was going through back then.

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“I have nibbled at the book for 10 years, on and off. It was something I felt that I really wanted to do.

“The process has been easier than I expected. I was surprised at how easily the words just flowed. I’m really pleased with the book.”

John began working with the Samaritans 10 years ago after a difficult spell of depression, and is using his new book to give something back to mental health charities.

After four periods with depression, starting in 1979, John had to give up his job at Hutton Grammar School where he had taught for 31 years.

He describes the book as a testament to the professionals, his wife and two children who have helped him on his road to recovery.

He said: “I wanted to do some voluntary work and pay something back to all the professionals.

“The Samaritans are a lovely group of people, and I’ve been touched that I have been able to sell 50 books to people involved with the charity so far.”

Since last year, more than 20,000 people have volunteered with the Samaritans, giving support to people dealing with emotional distress or at risk of suicide in the UK.

John has printed 100 copies, and has so far sold 50 at £8.99 each, to family and friends, so far raising almost £450.

All money will be split between Rethink, one of the largest charitable providers of services for people living with mental illnesses, and the Samaritans.

He hopes to sell all 100, raising up to £900 for the charities.

He added: “I know a lot of people that will want to buy a copy. There’s been a lot more interest in the book than I originally planned.”