At the age of 16, Paul Davies suffered a 430 bolt electric shock whilst at work in his first role after leaving school and endured a serious cardiac arrest.
The unfortunate workplace accident left Paul with severe anxiety and unable to achieve what we had hoped so shortly after finishing secondary school.
Twelve years on from the accident, Paul has attempted to commit suicide on two separate occasions, the latest being in January this year when he took an overdose.
The father of two has since made a full recovery and is now on track in turning his life around, citing the opportunities created by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Creative Support as the reason for his new positive outlook on life.
Paul started his road to recovery by joining Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s Social Inclusion Football League in April, which is hosted in partnership between both charitable organisations at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre on a monthly basis.
The league has been designed to support people with needs in mental health, substance misuse, social isolation and homelessness. Since its inception in 2011, the SIFL has helped more 800 people through the power of the football and many of those, through the support mechanisms in place and their new found confidence, have moved into further education and employment.
Even though Paul has only been participating in the SIFL for the past six months, he has realised a lifetime ambition by becoming an FA qualified coach and is now looking forward to a brighter future and applying for paid football coaching vacancies.
Currently working on a voluntary basis for a local children’s team, Paul has just re-started playing 11-a-side football on a Saturday for the first time in seven years alongside spending quality time with his young family.
Keen to raise awareness about mental health and the impact it can have, Paul explained why the Social Inclusion Football League at Blackburn Rovers has given him the confidence to make the right changes in his life.
He said: “I lost my full time job of nine years because of mental health issues and I received my final pay off last August. I went really downhill from there because and I got myself back into a rut and every day was a struggle.
“I would wake up in the morning and every day would be a battle. My mental health problems began 12 years ago after my accident.
“I tried taking my life seven years ago and I tried once again earlier this year with an overdose, but since getting involved with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Creative Support, I have structure in my life again.
“They got me involved in the Social Inclusion Football League at Ewood Park and I started playing five months ago.
“I haven’t looked back since. SIFL has helped massively and the league is very well organised with everyone making you feel welcome straight away. It is good because everyone else is in the same boat and recovering from something that has impacted their life in a negative way. I am now consistently doing something which I enjoy and I now have the confidence to socialise because I found it difficult to go out and socialise.
“I have made some new friends and I am now a qualified FA Level 1 coach working towards my Level 2 qualification. I have always wanted to be a coach but I never had the belief to do it, but now I am volunteering working for a local junior team and applying for full time coaching jobs, roles I never thought I would stand a chance of doing.”