A Winkleigh man has praised mental health charity Clarity for helping him to conquer the black dog of depression.

Paul Caron, 53, was diagnosed early in 2017 and referred to the Barnstaple-based charity, which has worked with him over the past 18 months.

The businessman, who is married with two children, said at his lowest he could not even get out of bed and felt as if life was not worth living.

His wife Em convinced him to go to the doctor and he was referred to the mental health crisis team, which arranged a placement with Clarity.

Over the course of several months he had 20 counselling sessions and with that help has been able to turn his outlook around.

Clarity provides counselling services for people experiencing mental health and emotional issues, through a team of 22 voluntary counsellors and five unpaid admin workers.

It receives no money from the government or health authorities and raises all its money through local events.

Paul was speaking during the recent Mental Health Awareness Week and said: “I really want to make people aware of Clarity and not only them, but the help I had before with the crisis team.

“It had been building for a few years, I was working long hours, driving a lot and not sleeping or eating properly, not looking after myself.

“I am classed as a ‘fixer’, someone who tries to fix other peoples’ problems, but you can’t and it starts to get on top of you.

“In the sessions I tried to be as open as I could and just talked about my past, telling them what was bothering me.

“They empathise, they don’t judge you, they show you kindness and punctuality, everything someone needs who has been going through what I went through.

“I would not have got through it without Clarity and my counsellor has been fantastic. Every day when I get up, I feel better.”

Paul’s counselling has just ended but he hopes to give something back and return to speak to a men’s group and demonstrate how the charity can help, as well as help it with fundraising.

Clarity volunteers will be at Sainsbury’s Roundswell from May 31 to June 2 and would welcome any donations.

Senior therapist Clare Fowler is taking part in a series of fun runs throughout this year and would welcome your support – go to https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/clarefowler1 if you would like to donate.