"I wouldn't wish it on anyone": Hampshire firefighters open up about their mental health

Adam and Stu are hoping to get others talking about mental health Credit: ITV News Meridian
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Interviewees: Stu Vince & Adam Bundle, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service & Sue Forbes, Solent Mind

Two Hampshire firefighters are opening up about their mental health to get others talking.

Stu and Adam know what it is like to struggle with mental health.

Stu was diagnosed with severe anxiety, depression and PTSD after surgery.

In addition, were the pressures of work and family life.

In 2015 he suffered a breakdown.

Stu suffered a breakdown in 2015 Credit: ITV News Meridian

It got to the stage where I couldn't leave my house. I couldn't come to work and I love my job so it was a big blow to me. It affected my family and my partner massively and my friends. You almost feel like you are in a hole that you can't get out of and it's a horrible place to be and I wouldn't wish it on anyone."

Stu Vince, Hampshire Fire & Rescue

Stress and anxiety in the emergency services has increased dramatically, as often people have to witness harrowing situations.

1 in 4

people will experience mental health problems

Credit: ITV News Meridian

However, awareness of mental health has increased.

Both Adam and Stu are now mental health first aiders for Hampshire Fire & Rescue and are preparing to go into other workplaces to encourage people to talk and to set up measures to help.

Being able to sit in a room and open up about our experiences helps to reduce the stigma, which is what the 2 year campaign is about."

Adam Bundle, Hampshire Fire & Rescue

working days are lost every year to mental health

Credit: ITV News Meridian

To finish their two year campaign Stu and Adam are taking part in a 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic next year.

They will be raising funds for Solent Mind and The Fire Fighters Charity.

They say the isolation of the sea reflects that which is often felt by those facing depression.