When Kelvyn Thompson returned from a military tour in Iraq, he struggled to cope with the horrors he’d witnessed. However, he says after hitting rock bottom, the support he received through the Charity’s Harcombe House helped him see “blue skies” again.
“I’m ex-military and in 2003 I served in Iraq,” says Kelvyn. “An incident there has stayed with me since then. It was a day-to-day incident in the military at that time. It involved children which, as fire and rescue people, we see a lot of the time as it is anyway. But this was just something that has just stayed with me. It stayed with a very dear friend of mine until he took his own life, and the impact that that has had, generally, has just taken something from me.
“I don’t know why, or what triggered it, but something hit rock bottom and took everything away from me and I felt the lowest I have ever felt for what feels like an eternity. I was really anxious about coming [to Harcombe House], just because of going through it all again. However, arriving here, right from minute one the atmosphere is just relaxing, it’s very conducive to getting that help that I needed.”
Kelvyn was offered a series of one-to-one sessions, including walks and chats, as well as workshops covering everything from pain relief to nutrition and sleep.
“It’s lovely to have blue skies back and feeling the sun again,” says Kelvyn. “It’s feeling that you can do this and if you can’t, if you’re having a bit of a wobble, there’s people there that will support you and will help you if you’re prepared to ask for that help… which I think is the biggest stumbling block with the environment we work in.
“Contacting The Fire Fighters Charity here has just been brilliant. This has changed everything for me and I can’t thank everyone here enough for what they’ve done because this is what I’ve needed for what seems like a really long time.”
If something is affecting your mental health, get in touch with us. Call our Support Line on 0800 389 8820 or make an enquiry online.