AN Ulverston man who was given electric shocks to "cure" his homosexuality has spoken out after decades living with its effects.

After suffering from depression, later discovered to be post-traumatic stress disorder, for more than 40 years, Jeremy Gavins now describes himself as happy and hopes telling his story can help others.

As a gay teenager in the 1970s, Mr Gavins, 64, was given painful electric shocks to "cure" him of his homosexuality.

Over the years he sought help through the NHS and private healthcare.

It was not until he was offered eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in 2015 that he has fully understood and accepted what has happened to him.

Mr Gavins said: “Eventually I got the EMDR therapy which was absolutely brilliantly successful and I’m fine now but I went through some very very dark times and from 2011 until 2013 things were really bad.

"I am actually happy now.”

Mr Gavins has also written a book about his life, called Is It About That Boy? , which is available for sale online HERE .

Liz Bolt, the consultant clinical psychologist who treated Jeremy with EMDR, said: "This therapy was originally developed to heal the symptoms of emotional distress that have been caused by a severely traumatic event.

"It can be very successful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, which is part of what Jeremy was suffering from.

“Some of the therapy Jeremy had beforehand was also helpful, but in his case EMDR helped him to finally put to rest some of the trauma, and to make sense of what he had done to cope with it.

"When people experience really traumatic events, they try and make sense of it at the time, but the emotions can be so overwhelming, that the “sense” they make of it can be wrong.

“EMDR helps people to revisit the memory and deal with the intense emotions, and what the trauma made them believe about themselves and make sense of it from a new perspective.”

"In Cumbria people with mild to moderate mental health issues, such as PTSD, can refer themselves to a service called First Step."

"We can't rewrite history"

In October last year the Royal College of Psychiatrists named Mr Gavins in a statement apologising for the effect of the shock treatment.

Professor Wendy Burn, president of the college, said these practices were no longer carried out and the profession as a whole regretted the actions of the past.

She said: “It is with profound regret that we hear of the lifelong impact that treatments such as 'aversion therapy’ had on Jeremy Gavins and others.

"It is important to acknowledge that this was once standard procedure within mental health services, and indeed reflected a wider societal attitude of fear and hatred towards homosexuals. .

"Studies which once showed conversion therapies to be successful have all been exposed as seriously methodologically flawed.

"In this day and age, there is no feasible scenario in which a fully trained mental health professional would administer such treatment.

“The injustice of those within the LGBT community who were treated as mentally unwell due to their sexual orientation alone is keenly felt by mental health professionals.

"We can’t rewrite history, but what we can do is make it clear that today our doors are open and that principles of equality and diversity will be passionately upheld.”