“Only a handful of people knew what I was going through at the time. I took two photos that night and they came up on my phone recently. I feel able to talk about it openly now, so I put a post up on Instagram and shared what I’d been through.
“I wanted my mates to know it’s okay to talk. If I can help them reach out by raising awareness then that’s what I want. It's surprising the amount of my friends that have come to me since and said they’re having a shit time. They know I’ve been there and have come out the other side.”
Ash is hoping to raise money for the service that helped save his life, doing the Lost Hours Walk for the CALM webchat, which he turned to when he felt unable to talk to anyone else. The webchat offered Ash space to chat about how he felt without worrying about what people would think:
“At the time I didn’t feel able to speak to anyone about what was happening, so it was nice to have that space to speak to somebody and know I wasn’t going to get judged or have to see them.
"It felt like a relief for somebody to hear it, to unload all that stuff, even though all I was doing was writing on a webchat.”
A year on, Ash is in a better headspace and feeling much happier. He’s bagged a new job and proposed to his girlfriend who’s supported him through it all. He’ll be doing the Lost Hours Walk alongside hundreds of others across the country, walking forwards against suicide to show there’s always a reason for living.
“Things have turned around completely, but if I look at where I was 18 months ago, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be here now. To walk that same route at night will be peaceful and knowing things are so much better now will be really moving.”
Sign up for this year’s Lost Hours Walk, take steps to save lives and walk against suicide this October. Wherever you are in the UK, you can help smash the silence around suicide by creating your own lost Hours Walk. Find out more.