On January 7, 2022, David interviewed James Crystal, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and mental health advocate in Birmingham, England. James tells the story of how he had a safe and loving home life, but while growing up, had some behavioural issues and found difficulty fitting in with his peers. At the age of 15, he was diagnosed with ADHD, but had already started self-medicating with cannabis, likely because he did not feel comfortable within himself.
His substance use expanded to other recreational drugs. As a teenager, James suffered the traumatic experience of being sexually abused while under the influence, and he continued to use drugs to escape reality, ultimately leading to his use of heroin and cocaine. To support himself and his addiction, James turned to drug dealing and robberies, and was arrested at the age of 19 and spent 18 months in prison. During his prison time, James got sober, but his state of mental health deteriorated. After release, he relapsed into old habits and was recalled back to prison for another nine months. During his second prison term, he got sober again, studied for a business course and decided to turn his life around and help other people. After his second release, he relapsed again, and fell into depression, which he considers to be the lowest point of his life. He rejoined his church, which provided a supportive environment, through which he became inspired to forgive his aggressors and turn his life into positivity and sobriety. He has been sober since July, 2017.
Since that time, James has founded two organizations. Eeverse is a clothing brand, promoting mental health awareness, social responsibility, sustainability and community, which donates 20% of its profits to his charitable organization Be;Live, focused on encouraging people to speak up about their mental health journeys and overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. Be;Live organizes and sponsors events to educate, inspire and empower people around mental health. James recently completed his university degree in Business Management and delivers talks at some of the UK’s largest organisations. He has spoken at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Bank of England and the UK Home Office. Anyone interested in booking James to speak on mental health, addiction or overcoming adversity can contact him, he would love to talk. The Be;Live 22 onsite event will be in Birmingham. Alternatively, the virtual stream can be accessed at the Be;Live website below.
James’ Contact Information: