VIDEO: Blackpool paramedics open up in new film released by royals
Blackpool paramedics Dan Farnworth and Rich Morton were among several A list celebrities sharing their experiences as part of a new mental health video campaign this morning.
The pair are champions for Mind’s Blue Lights programme and have completed several feats to raise awareness and cash about mental health issues within the emergency services, including trekking from Scarborough to Blackpool last year.
Their story was told in a short film released by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, for the Heads Together campaign.
Other films featured rapper Professor Green, cricketer Freddie Flintoff, comedian Ruby Wax, and journalist Alistair Campbell.
Dad-of-four Dan, who lives in Kirkham, spent months off work after developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after attending a 999 call involving the death of a small child.
He said in the video: “It wasn’t until afterwards that I started having flashbacks and seeing things I was not even there to see, which was harrowing. The nightmares were so vivid.
“That continued for five to six weeks. I was not sleeping. I was smoking and drinking, and getting into a deep hole day by day. It was scary."
Rich added: "To see somebody go through that personality change, I knew something was up, but I think it's difficult to approach someone when you feel that they could be going through other stresses and strains in their life."
Dan said: "Eventually I felt like I was at the bottom of a big hole and I didn't know what to do to get out of it."
After sending Rich a text message, Dan finally opened up about his problems, and said it was like the 'world had been lifted off my shoulders'.
He added: "The power of that conversation changed everything."
Alongside the film series, Heads Together published the most comprehensive survey of how people in Britain talk about their mental health carried out by YouGov.
It showed that almost half of us (46 per cent) have talked recently about mental health, with a quarter of us talking about our own mental health.
Eight out of ten people who have talked about their own mental health found these conversations helpful, while overall, the findings showed Britain is opening up about its mental health but equally highlight some of the challenges that still remain.
Men are less likely to talk than women and people aged 18 to 24 are almost twice as likely to discuss mental health than those over 65.
Also, fewer than one in five people who have had a conversation have talked to their GP and fewer than one in ten spoke either to a supervisor at work or a counsellor.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, which is one of the Heads Together Charity Partners, said: “It is truly groundbreaking to see so many people, from all walks of life, sharing their mental health experiences on film in the hope of inspiring others to strike up their own conversation.
"These films have the power to spark life-changing and, in some cases, life-saving conversations.
"We hope that there will be a snowball effect with more and more people seeing the benefits of speaking out and supporting each other.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry said: “Since we launched Heads Together last May, we have seen time and time again that shattering stigma on mental health starts with simple conversations.
"When you realise that mental health problems affect your friends, neighbours, children and spouses, the walls of judgement and prejudice around these issues begin to fall.
"And we all know that you cannot resolve a mental health issue by staying silent.
“Attitudes to mental health are at a tipping point.
"We hope these films show people how simple conversations can change the direction of an entire life. Please share them with your friends and families and join us in a national conversation on mental health in the weeks ahead.”