How do you stay sane in an insane world? Sleep for eight hours a night, exercise, be grateful for the small things in life, and when things get tough – just keep swimming

Pupils at Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools learned these important lessons from author, speaker and all-round survivor Jeremy Thomas when he delivered his insightful talk, ‘How to Stay Sane in an Insane World’, on Thursday, March 9.

The former record label manager, who overcame his own battle with bipolar disorder and went on to make award-winning BBC documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, inspired nearly 1,000 pupils, staff and parents with his story.

Delivered with incredible good humour, honesty and charm, Jeremy spoke at three separate events throughout the day at Monmouth School and HMSG, drawing from his extensive experience of mental health, the music business and novel-writing.

The aim of his talks is to normalise the subject of mental illness and take the Hammer Horror out of old perceptions. Over the last five years, Jeremy has visited schools across the country to share his poignant history of manic depression, addiction and loss.

He offers practical and useful tips on how to stay mentally healthy and get the best out of life, demonstrating that prevention is far better than cure.

“In the last two years the talks have really grown a lot and I’m quite zealous about it,” Jeremy said.

“I really believe in it and I think it should be in the school curriculum. This makes mental health a truly normalised subject for children.”

HMSG pupil, 17-year-old Katie Davies, said: “It was really interesting. His personal story really put into context what mental illness is actually like, rather than what you see in films and on TV.

“It was useful for us, learning how to deal with stress during exams. I didn’t realise how important sleep is before.”

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