Former member of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue's support staff, Terry Dickens, became negative about life and wasn’t the person she used to be after being diagnosed with depression. Here she talks about how a visit to Harcombe House has helped her.

Terry Dickens comes from a family for whom the fire service is a central part of their lives. She began working within the personnel department of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in her later life and was followed a few years later by her husband. The couple’s daughter and son-in-law also both work in the fire service. However, following her retirement from a role she loved, Terry began to suffer with depression.

Not knowing the service was available to her, Terry’s daughter and a former colleague suggested she contact the charity to find out what services might be open to her. Terry explains; “We found out through word of mouth, we knew it existed but thought it was mainly for operational staff and that it wouldn’t apply to us because we are retired, but were assured that wasn’t the case at all.”

Terry was accepted onto our Health and Wellbeing Programme at Harcombe House. It came at a time when she had lost all confidence in herself, so being able to attend the centre with her husband Keith by her side was of great support.

“I just wasn’t the person I used to be, I became very negative,” she admits. “I lost a lot of confidence and found it an effort to do the things I used to do, and I just basically wasn’t the person that I was. I could be very positive in the evening but by the time I had had a night’s rest I was very negative about the following day.”

“When it’s a road you haven’t been down before counselling is quite intimidating. But [the therapist] was very reassuring and very positive, it has been very beneficial.”Terry Dickens

Terry fully immersed herself in our programme which included accessing psychological and physical rehabilitation.

“When it’s a road you haven’t been down before counselling is quite intimidating, but [the therapist] who I saw was very reassuring and very positive, it has been very beneficial. And when you do something physical the feel good factor kicks in and it gives you a much more positive attitude. I think it’s a package more than any one thing.

“I just enjoyed the place, meeting new people, some sort of routine physically and getting more enthusiastic about things, mentally as well as getting more enthusiastic about my life, getting everything back in order.”

After her week-long visit Terry now has the tools to help her manage her condition and explained the importance of donating to the Charity.

“If you are thinking of donating we can all be sceptical of these things, but I would say just do it. It’s extremely worthwhile and we need to support these people that do these jobs, not just the uniform but the support  staff as well because it’s a big team.”