A KEEN photographer is hoping to stage an exhibition highlighting how his love of nature helped him recover from his second mental breakdown.

Trevor Parsons, who is holding talks with the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst, is embarked on a mission to raise awareness of how the right type of therapy can improve people's health and wellbeing.

He has already experienced the healing power of nature and wants to inspire others to share their stories.

New Forest Post:

Describing the "stigma" surrounding mental illness he said: "It's not as prominent but it still needs more work. The more open people are about mental illness the more people will talk and get help."

Trevor suffered his second mental breakdown in 2013-2014.

He said: "My doctor knew I loved nature so she suggested I set a timer on my phone and go take pictures. Once the timer finished, I would go home and write about what I did. As I became more comfortable, I increased my timer."

Writing on social media he added: "When you’re going through a breakdown there’s no 'off' switch in your head.

"But when I’m taking a photo I'm concentrating on one thing through the lens. It gives you a little bit of breathing space so it fades away.

“If you’re not into photography just go out for a walk. When you feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair it makes you feel more alive.”

Trevor, 51, of Verwood, Dorset, has received a letter of support from Sir David Attenborough and has also given a talk at Bournemouth University.

He said: "Since this virus and lockdown, we’ve never needed nature so much. Just feeling the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your face is so good for you.

"Nature will always remain an important factor in my life. It’s my anchor in the mad, bad world we live in today."

New Forest Post:

Trevor's supporters include former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, astrologer Russell Grant and Flog It's Paul Martin. Celebrity chef Levi Roots has given him advice as well as describing his story as "courageous and inspirational".

He has also networked with the fellow wildlife photographer Simon King and Springwatch presenter Chris Packham, who lives in the New Forest.