We recognise that not everyone can make a monetary contribution to the Charity, but donating your story can be just as valuable.
By sharing your experience of the support you’ve received from The Fire Fighters Charity, you will help us reach even more people who may be in need. Your story may resonate with someone who is experiencing similar issues but had not thought to contact the Charity, or it may inspire someone to donate to us to help us keep doing what we do.
We know it can be daunting to open up to someone about the events that led to you seeking support from the Charity, but rest assured we will speak to you without judgement, encouraging you to open up as much or as little as you feel comfortable.
But don’t take our word for it. Let us introduce you to someone for whom the idea of opening up about his struggles with mental health used to be the last thing he would ever want to do.
Meet Paul Weller
Former West Sussex firefighter Paul Weller would be the first person to tell you he didn’t used to like opening up about his feelings. But after spending time with the Charity to help him through some pretty dark times, he felt it was time to share his story in the hope it would inspire others in a similar place.
“I used to think talking about your feelings was a weakness, but it’s not, it shows strength of character,” says Paul. “I liked the idea of doing a written feature for the website, and sharing my story with others. The team called me and we spoke for around an hour about my time with the Charity and where I am now. It wasn’t awkward at all, it was just a conversation that was then translated into a case study. It was very easy and laid back, I’d advise anyone to do it.
“When I was later asked if I’d like to speak for a short film, I was in two minds, as I hate being in front of a camera. But I was soon made to feel very comfortable and having someone so easy to talk to made me much more comfortable. I felt like they were genuinely interested in hearing my story. They even took the time to make my daughter, Ivy, comfortable and involved her in the film. She was a massive part of my recovery, and it was special how much they included her.
“I would always tell people to do what I have done, it really does help talking about it.”