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35. Courage, Compassion, Connection

Is there courage in vulnerability?

Today’s episode is with Mike Richards, a trainee counsellor, Primary School teacher and mental health advocate. Mike is the founder of ‘Talk About It Mate,’ championing strength through vulnerability and starting open and honest discussions amongst men through simplicity.

Mike was diagnosed with ADHD in late 2018, through self-exploration, planning on completing his masters in Counselling at Salford University in 2020, having completed Mental Health First Aid training for Adults and Level 2 CPCAB Counselling Skills Qualifications at MCTC.

Mike’s Instagram:

Talk About It Mate Instagram:

Talk About It Mate website:

The Humen Space:

(1:20) Introductions

(2:00) Quickfire questions: quotes and books

(3:10) Work Mike is currently doing: peer support organisation ‘Talk About It Mate’ 2 years ago, the format of the group and how feedback has played a strong role, keeping it simple

(7:00) Social media, the bullshit of social media and authenticity, Mike’s three company words ‘courage, compassion and connection’. The importance of compassion.

(12:30) Being 30 from a male perspective, ‘Where am I at in life?’, how this links to mental health and the need to cut out negativity

(14:50) ADHD diagnosis and the journey to get there and accept it, how labels can be a mixture of restrictive and positive, but the extremes can be manageable even if they are difficult

(17:50) “The power of good enough”, direct empathy and motivation

(20:00) Past relationships with depression/mental health, the sense of impending dread or doom

(24:17) Charity work: ‘The Humen Space’, London-based, River Hawkins. Weekly basis, safe-space for men to talk with ‘themes’ that are facilitated and allows people to get things off their chest, peer support

(32:04) Authenticity and vulnerability, “there’s a lot of power in silence”. Different personality types will react differently to each approach, including counselling and how it can sometimes present as ‘unnatural’

(36:00) The body/mind connection and how bodily health takes priority but our mental health doesn’t, celebrating your own achievements and appreciating those feelings in the moment

(40:00) Differences between men and women with mental health: men can be more open with other men, the ‘brotherhood’ type of effect, but there is still diversity in an all-male group, giving people the space to be open, the importance of compassion regardless of circumstance

(47:30) Giving self-awareness a platform, getting comfortable getting uncomfortable, any kind of ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’.

(55:00) How visibility changes the way mental health is viewed, small changes can make a big difference and how we’re often further in our journey than we realise

(58:16) Courage and fear: intentionality is importance, ‘you are who you say you are’, if you believe you are good and compassionate, you will act in that way. The way you think and speak of yourself will affect your own and other people’s perceptions

(1:05:00)Closing comments: ‘everyone is capable of resistance’.

Welcome to Dark Coffee, the podcast that starts engaging and approachable conversations around mental health.

Join wellbeing advocate Alice Lyons as she attempts to normalise the conversation around mental health, from suicide to satisfaction and everything in between.

Dark Coffee aims to create a safe space to explore dark topics with curiosity, compassion and courage to empower people to build their mental strength, resilience and sense of connection.

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Suicide and Emotional Support Organisations – UK

Samaritans: Confidential suicide discussion and emotional support. Free helpline available round the clock. Text – 116123.  Call – 08457 909090  Email – Website –

Mind: Support and information for anyone suffering from a mental health issue. 0300 123 3393 Website –

Saneline: Practical information, crisis care and emotional support to people affected by mental health concerns. Helpline: 0845 767 8000, open daily from 6pm – 11pm.


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