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“Don’t be afraid to ask for help” - Norfolk man shares his experience of 35-year battle with depression

PUBLISHED: 11:39 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:53 03 April 2017

Norwich MIND. Nigel Thomas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich MIND. Nigel Thomas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

That’s the message from Norfolk man Nigel Thomas who has overcome the depression which haunted him for 35 years.

Now, in the run up to World Health Day on April 7, he is urging others to ask for help if they are struggling.

Mr Thomas, of Rollesby near Potter Heigham, only received the help he needed in 2011 after he “lost the plot”, quit his job and was referred to the Wellbeing Service run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The 63-year-old said: “I knew I didn’t feel quite right but, like many men, I ignored what the doctor said and pretended it wasn’t happening.

“I first struggled on for 25 years and had my ups and downs but kept it to myself as I just thought that was what life was like. Then I got made redundant and my wife died suddenly. My GP told me I had depression but I took the attitude that other people deal with these things, so I should be able to too.

“Things came to a head in 2011 when something happened at work and I just lost the plot completely. I ended up taking myself off and walking along the coast from Sheringham to Great Yarmouth. I needed space to think and to get away from things, but wasn’t able to get away from myself.”

Mr Thomas eventually went back to his GP and attended several appointments with a cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner from NSFT.

He is now using his own experiences to help other people in his job as a peer support worker with Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, which is run by NSFT in partnership with Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, West Norfolk Mind, Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind and Relate.

Services at Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney and Wellbeing Suffolk are free and are available to people aged 16 and over living in Norfolk and Waveney, and for people of all ages in Suffolk.

- For more information or to self-refer visit www.wellbeingnands.co.uk or ring 0300 123 1503 in Norfolk and Waveney or 0300 123 1781 in Suffolk.

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