Wayne Fletcher lost his brother Paul to suicide in September 2019 and his dad John to prostate cancer in May last year.
The Penwortham dad has spoken out about his experiences in a bid to tackle the stigma surrounding men accessing mental health support.
John was being cared for by the hospice’s Clinical Nurse Specialists at home, and the charity offered pre-bereavement and grief counselling to the family
Wayne admits he was reluctant to receive the support as he believed he didn’t need it:
“It was an incredibly tough time for all of us, My mum was getting support from St Catherine’s after Dad died but I didn’t think I needed it. I just wanted to carry on and make him proud.
“I run the family landscape gardening business and was just trying to keep busy, but deep down I was suffering, I was really struggling. Eventually, it caught up with me and I knew I needed some help.”
The dad-of-three eventually decided to accept the support and spoke to a counsellor from St.Catherine’s:
“I was paired up with one of their volunteer student counsellors, and honestly it feels like a cloud has been lifted. Every session felt so positive and productive, and I’d come out feeling really refreshed.
“It just helped to talk to someone different who didn’t know my dad and brother, who wouldn’t get upset and wasn’t judgemental. I could be fully open about everything.”
He is concerned about people being afraid to take about their feelings:
“It worries me that some people are put off talking about their feelings; they are hard conversations to have but they help you to process and deal with things.”
Wayne was full of praise for the support St.Catherine’s offered to him and his family during a very tough time for them:
“I’m full of admiration for St Catherine’s for all the different ways they help people. The care provided by the nurses for my dad at home was unbelievable too.
“They are so gracious, and we’re grateful that he was able to be at home and we could all be with him in his final days and hours.
“They helped prepare us for what was coming, and I feel lucky that as a family we were able to benefit from their care and support when we needed it.”
Cheryl Scott, Support Team Manager at St Catherine’s Hospice, said:
“There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and we’re here to help people whenever they need us, every step of the way.
“We provide personalised social, emotional, practical, physiological and spiritual support to patients, their loved ones, and the whole community in a variety of ways.
“We rely on an incredible team of compassionate and committed volunteers who give their time and enable us to reach more people who need us.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 629171.