Ex Police Officer to climb Mount Everest
Jamie Ironmonger from Gosport worked for Hampshire Police for more than 16 years but had to leave due to stress, depression and PTSD.
The 40-year-old said: ‘Clocking on to work and having to deal with job after job that can range from sorting domestic problems then going to a fatal car accident and then listening to an old lady disclose years of abuse from her husband really takes its toll.
‘To then have to go home and act like everything is OK with your family is really difficult. You have to keep it inside and it is hard to process what you have been through.’
Jamie, who now works as a Ministry of Defence police officer at the Portsmouth Naval Base, was left shocked after a friend and colleague of his committed suicide and another told him they were seriously thinking about ending their own life.
He said: ‘I don’t think people realise the mental impact blue light workers go through and terms like PTSD are usually associated with our veterans and servicemen and women who see horrifying things in Iraq and Afghanistan but we suffer from that as well.
‘Their struggles with PTSD is more well known about and there are charities out there that can provide help and support but for police, fire crews, ambulance workers and 999 callers there is not much for us.’
In order to raise awareness and money for charity MIND, which provides a blue light support programme, Jamie is attempting to climb Mount Everest in April.
Photograph of Jamie Ironmonger (C) Jamie Ironmonger
He said: ‘MIND are doing amazing work and it is only fairly recently that I found out about it and there was nothing like that when I first started out but it needs to be rolled out quicker and reach more people.
‘For me climbing mountains was a way to escape the work stress and I conquered Mount Kilamanjaro for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance which helped me and an amazing charity at the same time.’
Friend and fellow mountaineer Rolfe Oostra invited Jamie to climb the north side of Everest with him.
Jamie said: ‘Everest was never something I thought I would achieve as it is extremely expensive to do but this was an opportunity I just could not say no to and I thought it would be a great way to make people realise what blues workers are going through.
‘I want to raise £10,000 for MIND and I also need to raise £36,000 for the expedition so at the moment I am looking for a sponsor as I want every single charity donation to go to helping my fellow blues colleagues.’
Jamie has booked his flight to Kathmandu for April 8 and is busy preparing for the challenge which takes most climbers two months.
He added: ‘I am so grateful to my work for being so understanding in why I am doing this and letting me have two months off.
‘It is quite daunting but I think knowing that this will help people will get me to the top.
‘Hopefully even one person who is in an awful place sees what I have been through and how I have picked myself up and carried on will inspire them to do the same.’
To donate to MIND visit Jamie’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mind-everest-expedition
Source: Portsmouth News