After losing a limb, amputee seeks increased support for mental health challenges.

Barry Evans, a 60-year-old from Rogerstone, Newport lost his leg in October 2018 due to type 2 diabetes that had reduced the blood supply to his feet. He now runs a support group for amputees and advocates for more mental health support for people who have lost limbs. After his amputation, Barry felt that there was no point in living, as he had to wait for the wound to heal and couldn’t pay his bills. He was then put on suicide watch. Two days after his amputation, he became depressed and felt disgusted with his life. He returned home before rehab, where he spent seven months alone in his living room, feeling that he just wanted to die. Barry got the mental health support he needed and now works for the charity Limbless Association.

Katherine Williams, a 37-year-old from Baglan, Port Talbot, also hit rock bottom after amputating her leg. Katherine has type 1 diabetes, which may increase her risk of fractures. She thought she had twisted her ankle in 2016 while loading her laundry but found it broken after walking on it for a year. She went through multiple surgeries, all unsuccessful, and had her leg amputated below the knee in August 2017. Katherine managed to cope immediately after surgery but hit rock bottom during the coronavirus lockdown. She was putting her little daughter to bed when the alarm went off, and her blood sugar was low. Her wife also heard the alarm and helped force feed her. Katherine was finally put on antidepressants and directed to mental health support websites. Within two months, she was back to her normal self.

Beresford Wille, a 75-year-old from Monmouth, lost his right leg in June 2021 due to a blood clot. No one was holding his hand, and he woke up feeling lonely and lonely. He said that contact with other amputees was very supportive, but the biggest thing is loneliness. Anthony Wintle, who lost his leg in August due to type 2 diabetes, said that after his amputation, there was no help anywhere. He was stuck in his home for three months after coming home from the hospital because his wheelchair couldn’t get through the door. David Cox says that it’s important to meet other amputees who understand his situation.

The Welsh government said that it was the responsibility of the Board of Health to determine appropriate rehabilitation services, including access to psychological support where needed, and specialized rehabilitation was provided by three specialized centers in Wales. Barry’s own experience made him determined to help others.

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