THE death of Burton man Neil Eaton last year led his family to take action to help men affected by mental health issues.
Neil died last July in a refuge, at the age of 52.
His son Alex went on to set up The Eaton Foundation in memory of his father who had struggled with addiction, mental health issues and homelessness for many years. Alex felt what his father had really needed, was someone to talk to when things were getting too hard – and the hope that he could work towards success and recovery.
Alex and his wife Jessica thought it was an area that was often overlooked in society.
Jessica, Neil’s daughter-in-law, is chairman of the foundation and said the charity has taken off in the short time since its formation.
She said: “Lots of people knew Neil. He developed mental health issues and became dependant on drink. He was prescribed medication and became addicted to sedatives.
“He was homeless for a long time, it was really hard and then he died in a refuge in Burton last July at the age of 52. It was a massive shock to all of us.
“It took a long time for us to find out what happened to him. We found out he had taken M-Kat and drank lots of alcohol.”
The charity helps men who have had problems with homelessness, depression, anxiety, dependency, and long-term unemployment.
It offers face-to-face appointments, live chats, as well as advice and information.
“We often wonder what Neil would do or say,’ said Jessica.
“It’s incredible, the growth has been massive. I don’t think we imagined it would grow as it has done.
“We invited people to share their experiences of issues as men and what it was like for their families. I think that may have boosted awareness for us.
“Over the last few decades so much has been pumped into charities for women and children, men have been neglected slightly.
“There are gender roles of how a man should act.”
In March the foundation was contacted by Burton’s Mayor Ron Clarke, who chose it as one of his charities for the year.
“I didn’t even know he knew who we were,” said Jessica.
The foundation has now grown so much that it has moved into new offices in Union Street.
Jessica said: “We probably get around 12 to 14 people come to us a month but we have just had a surge because we have recently started contract services and addiction services.”
They also accept referrals from social services.
The charity, which is run with six trustees and four volunteers, also offer free training courses to help with self -esteem, as well as a football programme.
The Eaton Foundation aims to provide confidential and free services to all men in need, living within the areas of Burton, Swadlincote, Uttoxeter, Lichfield and Tamworth.
More information can be found at theeaton foundation.org.uk or by calling 01283 568341.
Referrals can also be made through the wesbite.
A raffle dinner will be held on June 6 to raise funds for the foundation.