A pair of Blackpool paramedics got the royal seal of approval at a high-profile London event.
Dan Farnworth and Rich Morton joined Prince William, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge to boost awareness on mental issues within the emergency services at a London event to commemorate World Mental Health Day.
Mixed medical technician Dan, 31, said: “We stood next to them on stage and talked about mental health, and they made us feel like one of the family.
“Prince William spoke to us in-depth about mental health and it was a really positive experience. It was quite humbling to know that we have their support.”
The dad-of-four, who lives in Kirkham, suffered from horrific nightmares after attending a job involving the death of a child. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder caused by stressful or frightening events.
He was given vital support from fellow North West ambulance paramedic Rich, 28, after opening up about his problems.
At the ‘Heads Together’ event, which took place at the County Hall in London on Monday, Dan said: “One day I thought I’d drop Rich a text to see if he was around for a chat. Within minutes, Rich was calling me. He came straight round to mine and we had a cup of tea and just talked.
“The relief I felt for confiding in Rich overwhelmed me, and I wish I’d done it sooner. He reassured me that this wasn’t something to be scared of and we talked through my issues, and he helped me figure out what I needed to do.
“I realised that I already knew what I had to do, but the power of his conversation was all I required to push me into doing it. With Rich’s support I went to my GP and started to see a counsellor which really started to help me.”
Figures collected by mental health charity Mind’s Blue Light programme found that 92 per cent of emergency service workers reported suffering from stress or low mood, while nearly two thirds had considered leaving their job due to mental health problems.
Some 48 per cent had to take time off work due to mental health problems, and one in four had contemplated taking their own lives.
Dan said: “Listening is the most important thing you can do. It showed me that I was never alone.
“It shows the people of Blackpool that we are not alone and that we can get through this.
“Blackpool is home to a lot of mental health issues and that’s why it’s important that we are leading the way in new ways of fighting it.”