As Prince William visits James' Place one man said asking for centre's help was 'best thing he ever did'

Prince William made headlines when he visited Newcastle's James' Place Centre this week- exploring the innovative service for men in crisis.

Now one man has spoken about the lasting impact the centre has had on him. Connor Doyle, from Liverpool, attended James' Place's first centre in his home city, and came to Newcastle to help open the equivalent in the North East in January. James' Place works to support men suffering mental health crisis and to offer suicide prevention support.

The idea is to help men access immediate support for their mental health in a friendly, non-clinical setting. They can literally just walk in to the premises in Summerhill Street, near to Newcastle city centre.

James' Place is named after James Wentworth-Stanley, a Newcastle University student who died by suicide in 2006, days after undergoing a surgical procedure. His mum Clare Milford Haven and dad Nick Wentworth-Stanley founded the charity shortly afterwards to provide support for men struggling with suicidal thoughts. Their first physical centre opened in 2018.

Connor told ChronicleLive his own experience in Liverpool had changed his life. He said: "Right at the end of 2022, I was feeling incredibly down. I had lost my job, I was facing a relationship breakdown.

Prince William unveils a plaque with James Wentworth-Stanley
Prince William unveils a plaque with James Wentworth-Stanley -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

"And it was getting to a time of year where in previous years I had lost friends and it started to all add up. It got to the point where I ended up making an attempt to take my own life. It was December 27 2022.

"But my mate's girlfriend is a mental health nurse and she put me on to James' Place. It was such a tough time for me, but as soon as I came in, it was like a breath of fresh air for me."

Connor spoke of how the ethos at James' Place, which uses an innovative card-based therapy model - developed from the maxim "lay your cards on the table" - had been remarkable. He said: "James' Place was so welcoming, and when you're in that frame of mind, you need to have somewhere that's so welcoming, not like some kind of clinic.

"I can remember in my first session, how I was feeling better almost straight away. In my first session I think I probably had every card down on the table. Over the course of the sessions I learned how to cope with things. I realised how to see past the feelings I was having."

Connor Doyle - who speaks highly of lifesaving care at James' Place
Connor Doyle - who speaks highly of lifesaving care at James' Place -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Connor said he would "100%" urge other men struggling with suicidal thoughts to visit James' Place. He said: "100% if you're feeling like you're in a place where you want to take your own life, speak to James' Place.

"It's the best thing that you will ever do. Given what they did for me, I'll do anything to help others find out about them. I was in a really bad experience, but looking back I want to turn that into positives and that's why I want to spread the word."