Case study: Ian, 43, Wales

“I’d met the love of my life and then 6 years ago she died – she was knocked down by a car and killed. You’re happy one minute and the next your world is thrown apart and then you’ve got to pick up the pieces. For a good couple of years I couldn’t talk to anybody and I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was locking myself away; I cut off friends and family and I didn’t bother with work.

“When it first happened, I just didn’t think there was anything left to be honest and there were a couple of times when I thought ‘Shall I, shall I not?’. I turned to drink then. I was getting drunk most nights and I’d go to sleep and forget about everything. I found it made me more depressed because every time I got drunk I was thinking of her.

“My mates had good intentions, but they were saying ‘Oh you’ve got to get over it, you’ve got to get on’. It’s easy to say, but until it happens to you, you don’t know. I did actually take an overdose; I just didn’t think it was worth going on. Looking back it was stupid, but the moment just caught up with me I think.

“It’s only in the last couple of years that things have started getting back on track. I just got up one morning and I thought ‘I need some money’ because things were running low. At the moment I’m a self-employed builder, but it’s quiet out there. It’s just a case of going out, putting leaflets round, trying to get the odd job.

“It doesn’t help sitting there with no work, on your tod, with no one to talk to. My mates come and see me, but there’s only so much you can stand on them.”