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49. Breaking the Stigma

Andy Salkeld is an accountant by trade, having worked in corporate finance on transactions across Europe and globally. Specialising in business intelligence, Andy also works with startups and is currently an Investor and Finance Director at dscvr, a Leeds-based tech business.

In this interview episode, Andy speaks about his book that is due to be published in May, ‘Life is a Four-Letter Word,’ including the inspiration behind the book, and his experiences that act as the subject-matter. He also touches upon the topic of being ‘just another guy’, generalism versus specialism and being a big-picture thinker in a detail-oriented world.

This interview also covers:

(1:30) Alice’s intro to the interview

(4:47) Introduction to Andy, his background in accountancy and corporate finance and what he means by ‘just another guy’.

(8:00) Seeing people for themselves rather than their qualifications, education or job title

(12:06) Andy’s book, ‘Life is a four-letter word,’ a mental health guide for professionals coming out in May. The background behind the book, including a charity Twitch stream and a LinkedIn article titled ‘Breaking the stigma’.

(15:00) How the article led to public speaking on World Mental Health Day, and doing a panel interview for Bec Evans (author of ‘How to have a happy hustle’) and how this led to the book

(18:08) How a book proposal challenge followed by a 6-week course on writing manuscripts (even though Andy wrote the entire book, which was then published)

(21:32) About ‘Life is a four-letter word’ starting from being a graduate going into a firm and the journey from there until the suicide attempt

(26:32) Discussion around inner critics and suicide, ‘seven failures’. The selfish versus selfless argument with suicide. Finding purpose and self-acceptance

(36:32) The role of reflection, big-picture thinking, critical thinking and how these can be beneficial to have, including the ability to acknowledge the parts we might not be as positive about

(43:19) Combative language and how detrimental it can be

(47:15) The importance of learning coping strategies and acknowledging that difficulties can help us to overcome them the next time a little more successfully and how perfectionism can result in less resilience due to an inability to accept things happening suddenly

(52:03) Changing yourself to suit your environment can result in you having a baseline that is detrimental to you, workplace culture and how it can contribute to your mental health

(1:04:54) Letting go, accepting change and how this can help others to find similarities and not feel alone. How there are multiple routes we can take in life, even if we think we’re on a purely intellectual route we can still be creative

(1:10:48) Generalism vs specialism – how knowing a little about a lot can be beneficial for skill development and in knowing when to ask others for help

(1:17:54) Myers-Briggs, the intricacies with introversion versus extroversion, how personality tests can help you understand yourself a bit better as a starting point and help you find people you collaborate well with

(1:24:32) Employee engagement and how it’s similar to what we expect from an actual engagement in terms of commitment, how values play into this and how essential it is to be in line with those values, culture evolution/revolution

(1:32:24) How change can take time when it comes to mental health, the evolution of the discussion and views around mental health, ‘shouting into the void’. Connection based on authenticity is far deeper

(1:43:29) Closing remarks: accept yourself, find our who you are and learn about your inner critic and find your happiness

Andy’s LinkedIn:

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Andy’s Website:

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.