Adam: “I don’t want mental health to be a taboo subject – a lot of people sadly think it is”

Adam Evans, 30, has completed a 100km cross-country route on foot, with a 2,500m total ascent, to raise funds for us after receiving support for his mental health when he was really struggling.

Recognising when you’re beginning to struggle – and then finding the courage to reach out for help – can be two of the most challenging things you’ll face when struggling with your mental wellbeing.

But Adam Evans says it’s the best thing he could have done.

Adam, 30, a firefighter with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, received remote 1:1 counselling from us after realising he needed support for his mental health last year.

And having seen first-hand how far donations go in helping people like him, he’s since completed a huge fundraising challenge in aid of us to say thank you.

Support more people like Adam by donating now

“I’ve been in the fire service over three years now and I’ve known about the support on offer the whole time, without ever needing it,” says Adam. “Last year, however, I started really struggling mentally. I didn’t realise I was in a bad place at first either…

“I’d gone through a difficult time with a number of issues in my personal and social life, and it brought a lot of stuff up from my past.

“When I was younger I lost both my parents. My mum died when I was 10 and I then lost my dad when I was 19. I didn’t address it at the time, you just have to carry on – particularly as I had a younger brother – so I think I buried it down a bit.

“I managed to get my life on track, I got a career and a partner and got settled in a house, but everything began to slow down in Covid and those things I should have dealt with all those years ago cropped up again.”

Adam says it hit the point that he knew he needed help after he shouted at his partner out of the blue – something which was completely out of character for him.

“I got angry at my partner and swore at her,” says Adam. “My friend was there at the time and pulled me up on it, just asking why I was speaking to her like that. It clicked in my head then, I thought ‘yeah, why am I?’I knew something wasn’t right.

“I’d begun getting really paranoid around that time too. Luckily, when I got back to work, I started speaking to a colleague who has a young lad that’s been helped, and he suggested I get in touch with you.”

Adam spoke to our Assessment Practitioner team who recommended he receive some counselling from his home, over the phone, and he says he jumped at the offer.

“Speaking to the counsellor that I had, it was almost like, you feel like you can’t show your emotions in the fire service, but I finally could there – there was no taboo,” says Adam.

“I know now I can turn to you in the future which is really reassuring. I’ve been really open with people since about why I’ve been so distant, it has really helped me open up and hopefully help others.

“I don’t want mental health to be a taboo subject, which a lot of people unfortunately still think it is.

“You provided the mental health support I needed to understand how I could work through some of these issues in day-to-day life.”

Having seen others like himself helped ever since, Adam began thinking of a challenge he could set himself to raise funds for us, as a thank you.

“I wanted to give myself a sense of purpose, to raise awareness for people that may need support but are ‘ashamed’ to ask for it and to help people who are less able than I am,” says Adam.

And he did just that. In June this year, he covered 100km on foot – which included a 2500m ascent – all in just over 26 hours, raising over £650 for us and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“It was really tough. Physically and fitness wise, I knew I’d trained a lot, but it was more the stress on your body and mental fatigue,” says Adam.

“It took me 26 hours and 30 minutes, which is a bit longer than we were aiming for but one of our friend’s feet were in a bad way and we had to help him off before the end.

“It’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

“Being able to achieve something I wasn’t sure was possible was so good for me, mentally. When we got the 50km mark, the guys I was with wanted to drop out and I was determined to finish it, because I knew it was for this Charity.

“Raising money for you was a no-brainer for me, because I‘ve obviously used yourselves in the past, and I wanted to give something back. I wanted to show that even if you are struggling mentally, these physical challenges and raising money for a charity at the same time, can be really beneficial for you.”

If you’re struggling with your health and wellbeing, we may be able to help you. Call our Support Line on 0800 389 8820, make an enquiry online or register for MyFFC now and visit the ‘Access Support’ tab at the top of the MyFFC homepage.

You can also join our ‘Share Your Story’ Group in MyFFC, by clicking on the ‘Groups’ tab, to chat to others who have received our support or enquire about sharing your own story.