Orford man recovers from brink of suicide thanks to charity

Julie Palin, probation officer; John Jackson and probation services officer Andrew Pownall

Julie Palin, probation officer; John Jackson and probation services officer Andrew Pownall

First published in News

DEPRESSION mixed with binge drinking was a dangerous cocktail which brought John Jackson to the brink of suicide.

But now the 42-year-old is recovering after getting help from Support 4 Change, which sees different agencies team up to help people in need following a criminal conviction.

John crashed while driving his car on Christmas Eve, 2012. The smash happened during the middle of a drinking binge that lasted for several weeks.

He was handed a two year community order, banned from driving for four years and suspended sentence at Runcorn Magistrates Court in June last year for drink driving.

The father-of-three said: “I’d split up from my partner and that started one of my binges.

“I’d been drinking for weeks. I remember nothing from those bouts.”

John, from Orford, is being supervised by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company, but also took part in the support project which helps offenders with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

“I’d also started self-harming, I was thinking about suicide a lot,” he added. “I know that if it wasn’t for Support 4 Change and I’d be dead by now.”

Support 4 Change works with probation and in John’s case arranged for counselling, provided debt advice and encouraged him as he quit drinking.

He said: “I was stressed about my debts and that again pushed me to drink. By helping me tackle my problems, and because counselling helped me realise I’d been using drugs to hide my feelings, I’m doing better today than I could possibly have dreamed.”

Andrew Pownall, a probation services officer, supervises John.

John said: “Andrew is brilliant, he doesn’t have to do the things that he does. I know I can contact him whenever I need to.”

Andrew added: “When I first met John he was quite a handful, with a chaotic lifestyle combined with drink and drug habits.

“Slowly, by working with probation and Support 4 Change, he has now gone four months without a drink, is on the right medication and crucially can recognise his own triggers.

“He broke the law because of drink, therefore if we can support his recovery we stop him from reoffending and protect the public. It also ensures John gets the help he needs.”

John said: “A year ago I was a disgrace. I don’t even remember getting into the car, let alone crashing it. I was a liability. But now I’m sober and can be a father again.”

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