A woman has spoken about how she tackled her mental and physical health issues with the help of housing association Fortis Living.

Dawn Jones was offered help by Fortis after her depression got so bad that she attempted suicide.

She said: “My struggles with mental health began five years ago when my Mum died; I used to see her every day so it was a very hard time for me. At the same time I became a carer for my step dad who had dementia.

“Then two years ago I split up from my partner and experienced some really challenging times with my children one of whom has learning difficulties. It all got on top of me and I attempted suicide.”

Prior to this, Dawn had signed up for a fitness programme organised by Fortis, but after the death of her mother, she felt unable to carry on with it.

Caroline Winnall, the association’s health and well-being co-ordinator, had known Dawn earlier and noticed she was not taking part in organised activities.

She said: “ When I met Dawn again I was really upset to see how she had gone downhill. She told me she was in a really dark place and was on anti-depressants as well as sleeping tablets.”

She enrolled Dawn on a new programme called Restart, which included a ten-week gym membership and mental health coaching.

Since beginning the programme, Dawn has lost two stone and two pounds, and has noticed a marked improvement in her mental health.

She said : “The support I have received has been fantastic and I can’t thank Fortis enough; I have built up my resilience and self help has now well and truly kicked in.

“Some gyms make you feel self conscious; however the gym at Clarence Park in Malvern which I come to isn’t like that at all.

“I have found a new lease of life and I feel so much better. I have given up smoking and although I haven’t worked for 17 years I hope to go back to college with the hope of a good job at the end. I am indebted to Caroline and her team.”