A BURY St Edmunds engineer who suffered ‘horrendous’ injuries in a freak accident has praised two charities for turning his life around.
Jason Dunn, 43, says Workwise and West Suffolk Mind ‘saved’ him after his life spiralled out of control due to the injuries he suffered after stepping on a paving slab which split in two.
The resulting jolt from the incident, in Norwich, in 2005, broke three vertebrae in his back leaving the former Suffolk county champion swimmer reliant on two sticks to walk and help with routine tasks.
Mr Dunn, of The Vinefields, said: “It was horrendous. I spent most of my time staring at four walls and I became isolated and depressed. I had no money and lost all of my confidence and self esteem.
“At one time I just couldn’t ever see my life getting back to normal.”
The qualified engineer was referred to Mind where he heard about the vocational opportunities at Workwise, which trains people with mental health problems in a business environment.
The centre provided a refresher to develop his engineering skills and he was recently given a full time role as a CADCAM instructor - his first job in seven years.
He said: “I’m back working in 3D design, which is something I love. It’s a great opportunity and I’m a very lucky man. I have an understanding of the people that come here due to my own depression. It’s nice to have some money in my pocket again.
“Without the help I received from Workwise I’m sure I would have been destitute by now.
“It has put my life back on track and for the first time in many years I feel I have got back what I lost and I’m positive about the future.”
Val Beresford, chief executive of Workwise, praised Mr Dunn as ‘being a natural with people’ and said the organisation is ‘proud to have him on board’.
On his physical health, Mr Dunn said he still has a ‘bit of a limp’ and needs to take painkillers but is ‘getting better and stronger’.
He added: “So many people who have mental illnesses don’t get the help that I did. They need to know Mind and Workwise are there to help.”