WATCH: Town legend Butcher opens up about son’s PTSD battle in bid to help others

PUBLISHED: 19:59 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:59 21 May 2020

Terry Butcher has spoken about his son's mental health battles for a new campaign Picture: GRAHAM STUART/ PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

Terry Butcher has spoken about his son's mental health battles for a new campaign Picture: GRAHAM STUART/ PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher has spoken openly about his son Christopher’s struggles with mental health as part of a new campaign.

Christopher Butcher.  Picture: Family handout/PA WireChristopher Butcher. Picture: Family handout/PA Wire

Former England international Butcher is one of several new faces of a mental health campaign by CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

As part of the campaign, Butcher recorded a short video in which he spoke of the issues that faced his son Christopher, a former soldier, who died in 2017 at the age of 35.

“Our son Christopher came back from Iraq and Afghanistan with complex and severe PTSD,” said Butcher in the video.

“He had bad dreams, he had psychosis, he had demons in his head. He had voices in his head as well. You name it, he had it.

Terry Butcher is involved in a new mental health campaign Picture: PagepixTerry Butcher is involved in a new mental health campaign Picture: Pagepix

“He had his counsellors to go and see too for 45 minutes a week, which is hardly anything but, apart from that, he didn’t have anyone else that he could speak to.

“So consequently he ‘hunkered himself down’, as he would call it, in his room isolated himself, didn’t speak to anyone and only came out for meals. Not a good way to live, obviously.

“He lost his confidence, he lost his self-esteem and he lost respect in himself.”

Butcher said the he hoped talking about his own family’s experience would help others, particularly during difficult times like the current pandemic.

“As someone who has been involved in football my whole life, I’ve seen how significant sport can be to people’s physical and mental health through playing, coaching or watching,” said Butcher.

“So with no football on our screens and with more important issues affecting people’s lives, it has become even more vital that we look out for each other, especially those going through a really difficult time.

“Mental health problems can tear individuals and families apart – our family is one of many that felt helpless and frustrated as we tried to understand our son’s illness and despair.

“Chris very much felt isolated and alone, even though we were there for him; it would have been a great help to have had someone who was unconnected to the family to speak to. He did have a medical support team but it was at night that he felt most vulnerable – that’s when he needed help the most.

“We sincerely hope that this campaign and our son’s story raises awareness of the support that is available through the CALM helpline and that together, we can help save lives.”

CALM runs a helpline manned by professionally trained staff from 5pm to midnight, seven days a week for those looking to speak to someone about their own mental health or others.

They can be contacted on 0800 58 58 58.

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