For Chris, dealing with two tragedies in his life was something he felt he would never be able to share with others or open up about.
“I just kept it all hidden,” he admits.
But now, with thanks to Wolves Foundation’s Head 4 Health project, he has found the courage and the strength to speak.
Having already undergone one tragedy 30 years ago, Chris’s daughter took her own life in 2021.
Speaking as the Foundation aim to raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day which falls on September 10th, Chris admits the loss of his daughter finally pushed him into doing something about his mental health.
“It was 30 years ago when a first tragedy happened in my life, and I bottled it up inside for all that time and was just going about things in the wrong way,” he reveals.
“Then there was the tragedy with my daughter, who had been really suffering and took her own life in 2021.
“Later on, I was at West Park Hospital and someone told me about Wolves Foundation and Head 4 Health and I just knew I needed to do something.”
Head 4 Health is a Premier League and PFA funded project with additional support from the City of Wolverhampton Council, which aims to improve the mental wellbeing of adults through informal and educational workshops and physical activity.
“Going to Head 4 Health has helped me so much,” says Chris.
“I wouldn’t talk before, it felt like I couldn’t, or I didn’t want to.
“But Head 4 Health has made me open up more to other people who are suffering like I am, and we are helping each other – it has created a bond like we are a big family.
“I’ve still got these little tears going around inside me but mentally I am lot better than I was.
“I think sometimes us men think it is a weakness to open up and that we are macho and can handle everything – but we can’t.
“There are other people out there that I know are suffering just like me and I have told them about Head 4 Health because it’s the best thing I have ever done.
“It is the first time I have actually been able to talk about what happened because I always kept it inside and while people may have thought I was a happy-go-lucky person, it was actually very different.
“At Head 4 Health, you know you are not on your own, everyone shares each other’s problems and it has helped me tremendously.”
Health and wellbeing manager Rachel Smith believes that Chris’s experiences highlight just how important Head 4 Health is proving to be.
“The improvement that Chris has had over the last two years since engaging with Head 4 Health has been phenomenal,” said Rachel.
“The courage it takes to share your story, especially when you’ve not told anyone about it before, and then the support he gives to other participants, is incredible really.
“One of the main reasons we set up Head 4 Health to begin with was around men’s mental health, trying to really break down the stigma and some of the barriers that men potentially face in talking about their problems.
“We are able to use the badge of Wolves to encourage people to come and to break down those barriers and show it is o-k to talk – it’s not a bad or negative thing.
“Nobody should be ashamed if they are struggling with their mental health – there is help out there which they can access.”
To find out more about Head 4 Health, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.