The family of a young man who tragically took his own life are on a mission to raise awareness of the help that’s available for people with mental health problems.
They are still heartbroken after losing Twm Bryn, from Chwilog, on the Llyn Peninsula, just days after his 21st birthday in October 2021.
His parents Bryn and Bethan Jones, paid tribute to the work of the DPJ Foundation that’s dedicated to helping people in rural communities deal with mental health issues.
Twm’s death has also inspired Harlech Foodservice, one of Wales’s leading food distribution companies, to support the charity.
They have donated £1,000 to the DPJ Foundation with £1 from the sale of every tub of their Welsh Maid ice cream going to the organisation set up to help those in the agricultural sector suffering from poor mental health.
Harlech Director Andrew Foskett is a family friend and his son, Toby, and Twm were close friends from their schooldays.
Bethan Jones, a nurse herself, said: “The problem living where we are there’s little availability of help for people with mental health problems and at the time we weren’t aware of the DPJ Foundation until afterwards.
“I’m just so glad that its profile is being raised now because there’s no health services available. It could have helped Twm and it will definitely help others.
“We need to raise the profile because it’s OK not to feel OK. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
“It’s really good that a local business like Harlech is supporting the work of the DPJ Foundation in memory of Twm because it’s a brilliant organisation and Twm and Toby were really good friends.”
Twm was a keen cyclist who competed regularly but after an unprovoked attack outside a nightclub in Pwllheli he suffered from depression and was on a waiting list but died before he was able to access support.
Andrew Foskett said: “This is very personal to us because Twm Bryn and my son Toby were best friends from their days in primary school and Twm and his family are members of the local farming community.
“Just because we live in a beautiful part of the country doesn’t make people in rural Wales less likely to suffer from mental health issues.
“In fact working long and lonely hours, often in difficult conditions, can make it all too easy to be affected by depression and anxiety.
“The loss of Twm Bryn has made the work of the DPJ Foundation something very close to our hearts at Harlech and made us want to support the charity.
“They are the Samaritans of the farming world and offer such a support network throughout rural Wales and that has been particularly important through the pandemic lockdown when issues of loneliness and isolation were exacerbated.
“These are the people who grow our food and if we can’t support them who else is going to?
“Food from Wales is renowned for its quality but there can be a price to be paid and the DPJ Foundation are there to support people in the rural community and they have helped so many.”
The DPJ Foundation was set up in 2016 by the family of young Pembrokeshire agricultural contractor Daniel Picton-Jones, a father of two, who took his own life after struggling with depression.
Since then it has helped hundreds of people across rural Wales at the same time as raising awareness of the issue of mental health in the agricultural sector which has one of the highest rates of suicide.
They hold Mental Health Awareness courses, a confidential Share the Load counselling and helpline service, and are active on social media to signpost the ways to get help and show that there is always help available.
DPJ Foundation Charity Manager Kate Miles said: “We are delighted to receive this continued support from Harlech Foodservice, building on their sponsorship of our Tractor Raffle last year.
“It is great that Harlech have decided to donate £1 from the proceeds of the sales of their Welsh Maid Ice Cream tubs to us, but also, by including our logo on the tubs, it is helping us to raise awareness of our services and hopefully will help us to reach more people.
“The fact is that suicide can be prevented and we want to ensure that people know that making a confidential call to our Share the Load helpline can really help. The helpline is available 24 hours on 0800 587 4262.”
It is something that is important to Harlech Foodservice as well – during the pandemic lockdown when there was a dramatic rise in mental health issues across the UK they launched their own mental health support service.
They have a team of trained staff ready to provide the right assistance and ask the right questions if a colleague is showing signs of feeling under pressure.
Harlech, who have bases in Criccieth, Chester and Merthyr Tydfil, employ around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.
For more on Harlech Foodservices go to https://www.harlech.co.uk/
For more on the work of the DPJ Foundation go to https://www.thedpjfoundation.co.uk/