A POLICEMAN turned best-selling author has revealed how he has battled depression for decades and attempted suicide after suffering a brutal gang attack while on the beat.

GP Taylor, whose novels have been translated into 51 languages, has spoken of his struggles in a bid to highlight the financial plight of a North Yorkshire-based charity mental health charity which is facing imminent closure.

The Shadowmancer author said if Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind (SWR Mind) failed to raise £6,000 by the end of the month and then £80,000 for the coming year, it would leave the 1,000 people it supports with nowhere to turn at a time when there is little support elsewhere.

He said the charity, which is in crisis due to funding cuts, had provided him with counselling since being beaten by a gang while working alone in Pickering town centre in 1994, which had proved particularly traumatic as it had taken 20 minutes for police support to arrive.

The 55-year-old said the attack, in which he sustained head injuries, and dealing with dozens of suicides led to him developing post traumatic stress disorder, and when he went off sick from North Yorkshire Police, he received a negative response from his superiors and his pay was stopped.

He said: "Bit by bit all the death and disaster built up and after I left the police to become a vicar the Church of England were no good at helping either, they had no coping strategy.

"I later became an author and at the height of my career I was in the depths of despair.

"I’ve only managed to get through it with the help of my family, counselling and support for my mental health."

Mr Taylor said he hid his torment as he signed book deals worth millions of pounds with publishers and that mental health remained a "dirty word".

He said people donated more money to animal rescue centres than SWR Mind, which was launched in 1962 and has 17 staff and 60 volunteers.

It is the sole charity in the area to take urgent referrals from other services for people suffering from illnesses such as schizophrenia or eating disorders and it runs seven projects in North Yorkshire.

Mr Taylor said: “If SWR Mind closes it is a matter of life and death as this charity helps people who are experiencing a mental health crisis who are desperate for help."

To donate, visit swrmind.org.uk, text SWRM22 with an amount to 70070 or send a cheque made payable to Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind, PO Box 304, Scarborough, YO11 3YJ.