15/05/2024 - Permalink

News from our partners: Look after your mental health

Related topics: Adult social care / Health / Partner organisations

News from our partners WithYou

“It doesn’t matter how tough you are, life can be tougher”: local person urges people to look after their mental health 

To mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (Monday 13 May – Sunday 19 May 2024), local resident Dan Robinson is urging people living across Shropshire to look after their mental health and seek support with any challenges they may be experiencing.

After a significant trauma in his childhood, Dan Robinson turned to alcohol and drugs to get him through each day. For nearly two decades, Dan self-medicated away the pain. But then Dan’s world fell apart and he tried to take his own life.

Thanks to support from drug, alcohol and mental health services and a newfound love for playing and coaching rugby, today, Dan’s life couldn’t be more different. Dan is now the captain of the Telford Hornets Rugby Club and he works at Shropshire Recovery Partnership, which is delivered by WithYou, a national drug and alcohol treatment charity.

Rugby star Dan

Rugby star Dan

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Dan is urging others who need help with their mental health to access support. He said:-

“There is no shame in needing support. There are so many organisations out there who care and who are ready and waiting to help you.

“If I hadn’t gotten support when I did, I wouldn’t be here today. But because I sought help – and because there were people there who were willing to help me – I’ve been given a second chance at life.”

Dan first started drinking alcohol when he was 14 years old. Reflecting back on how he used alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism, he said:-

“I was sexually assaulted as a child, but I didn’t talk to anyone about it – I didn’t know how to. When I drank alcohol, it didn’t hurt as much – it was like this blanket that took away some of the pain.

“I started taking class A drugs at the age of 18 and continued to use them to self-medicate, as for me, this was easier than talking to someone about what I’d been through. I thought I was in control but I wasn’t, and that was a scary and dark place to be. I was a slave to my drug use.

“Then the pandemic came and my life just blew up. Lockdown meant that I couldn’t see my friends and couldn’t work, and I lost the little purpose I had left. Over the course of seven months, I racked up nearly £10,000 of debt from my drink and drug use. I didn’t see a way out and it felt like an insurmountable task to get my life back on track. So I tried to take my own life.”

But after a chance encounter with an old friend and with his parents’ help, Dan started a rehab programme, began volunteering for WithYou, and found a new passion for keeping fit and active. Dan explained:-

“I started going to the gym and playing and coaching rugby. Having something active to throw myself into helped to release stress and it became a way for me to deal with the emotions that I’d spent nearly two decades trying to block out. But more than that, it gave me a purpose.

“I’ve just been made the captain of Telford Hornets rugby club. It’s a real circular moment for me – not many people who’ve come from a place where I’ve been get to be a rugby team captain of a community rugby club.

“If I had to share one piece of advice, it would be to ask for help. If you’re experiencing challenges with your mental health, drugs or alcohol, then reach out to Shropshire Recovery Partnership for support.”

If you or someone you know needs support, call 01743 294700 or visit wearewithyou.org.uk for more information or to use our free, confidential webchat service.

You can listen to Dan, talking about his life and how he overcame his drug and alcohol use on BBC Radio Shropshire here: Clare Ashford – 15/05/2024 – BBC Sounds. Dan’s interview starts at 18min and 18 seconds.

(Photo of Dan playing rugby)

For more information and spokespeople requests, please contact the WithYou press office at pressoffice@wearewithyou.org.uk or by calling 07974 067786


WithYou is a leading drug, alcohol and mental health charity operating across England and Scotland. Each year we work with more than 100,000 people in over 120 locations, providing a free and confidential service without judgement to