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'Isolation is a killer': Man launches support group in towns

PUBLISHED: 15:13 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:25 04 April 2019

Malcolm Blowers, 74, from Kessingland launched the mental health support group following two stints in hospital.

Malcolm Blowers, 74, from Kessingland launched the mental health support group following two stints in hospital.

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A man who has been battling bipolar for three decades has offered help to those with mental ill health at his Waveney drop-in centre.

Mr Blowers, pictures with his daughter-in-law Lisa Jay, from Bungay help people of all ages with their mental health drop-in centre.Mr Blowers, pictures with his daughter-in-law Lisa Jay, from Bungay help people of all ages with their mental health drop-in centre.

After he was bullied at work by three men, Malcolm Blowers picked up the bottle and spiralled into a deep depression.

“I got more down and was drinking to forget. Alcohol works in some ways because it makes you happy, but it will always end up making you more depressed,” the 74-year-old said.

At the time, his family were told he may never leave the hospital and could live out the rest of his life as a patient.

“There wasn’t the awareness back then. My mum said to my wife to sell the car and the home because she wouldn’t be able to keep it,” he said.

Mr Blowers, pictures with his daughter-in-law Lisa Jay, from Bungay help people of all ages with their mental health drop-in centre.Mr Blowers, pictures with his daughter-in-law Lisa Jay, from Bungay help people of all ages with their mental health drop-in centre.

In 1979, Mr Blowers relapsed and was sent to Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

Following the stint in hospital, he started frequenting support groups across Norfolk and Suffolk travelling as far as Bury St Edmunds, which helped him combat his illness.

Nine years ago he was called to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at Beccles Common and was handed a £27,000 cheque to start his own support groups.

“I knew what needed to be done for the community, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” he said.

Now as a well-being ambassador, he hosts groups in Halesworth, Beccles, Southwold as well as Bungay.

“There is no cure, but you can learn to live with your mental illness.

“I think it is getting worse because of 10 years of austerity and you can’t get help, isolation is also a killer,” he said.

He added: “Just turn up to the meeting, sit down and listen - you don’t have to say anything.”.

To manage his mental ill health, Mr Blowers has taken to gardening spending days down at his allotment.

“If I get bad, I just swear at my cabbages now,” he said.

Contact Malcolm on 07724782268 or Lisa on 07936543430 for more information.

The next meeting is on April 12.

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