WGC man saved from suicide by mental health charity

11:00 a.m. January 29, 2022

Mental health support charity Mind in Mid Herts has seen a 40% increase in the number of people it helps over the past year due to the impact of Covid and various lockdowns.

As well as counselling, the charity offers a range of support services including group sessions, contact calls, art groups, meetups, nature walks and conversational webinars.

Paul, resident of Welwyn Garden City [not his real name]53, is one of those who have benefited from his work, having felt such an overwhelming sense of loneliness at the height of the pandemic that he began to fantasize about his own death.

All that kept him going were the weekly Keep in Touch (KIT) calls from his local Mind in Mid Herts office, a service set up during the first lockdown in March 2020 that specifically targeted people who were isolated and in need. Support.

He explained: “Sometimes that was all I had hoped for during the week. Every Tuesday or Wednesday someone from Mind would call me just to check on me and see if I wanted to chat. I think Mind in Mid Herts really is the only reason I’m here today.”

In his bathroom cupboard, Paul had a supply of strong painkillers prescribed for him after he was hit by a bus while crossing the road. These pills, he thought, would be how he would take his life when the day came.

“During the first lockdown, I was sitting in the garden with my neighbour,” Paul said.

“But I think I started to become a burden on him because I was in such a depressed state, so in the second lockdown I hardly saw anyone.”

Paul’s isolation during the lockdown stems from the breakdown of a 15-year relationship just before the pandemic broke. He said he believed issues relating to his mental health had ruined his relationships with adults his entire life and so, being away from his family, he found himself completely alone during the pandemic.

“I woke up in the morning and lay there until noon, unable to get up, feeling like I was underwater, living on bread and bacon, with only Facebook to turn to for life inside. ‘outside.”

Paul told Mind he had trust and intimacy issues which he said stemmed from his childhood when he was sexually abused. He knew that his parents had also been sexually abused as children and that Paul’s uncle had abused him from the age of four.

His parents had done their best to break the chain of abuse and raise a prosperous family, but their limited understanding of healthy relationships meant they were unable to protect Paul.

Paul said he suffered emotional and physical abuse from his father, who was controlling and would get angry very quickly. As Paul grew older, he began to complain about this controlling environment, sometimes hitting back at his father and other days in tears.

Paul explained that he felt hopeless that something could change and that led to a cocaine addiction as an adult. He had a series of jobs but was unable to develop any direction in a career. As Paul’s mental and physical health deteriorated, he was bullied and abused by other men in the pub.

Paul now finds the social support of MiMH – especially nature walks – a safe place to heal and recover.

“You can always talk to someone who understands because they’ve been there themselves and it gives you a boost of hope. Being in nature means you can see the change of seasons and enjoy the fresh air. fresh in the company of others makes me feel happy to be alive again.”

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