A DAD says watching his son deal with mental health problems felt like "a kick in the stomach."

Paul Sparrow's son Harvey,17 admitted he was struggling with his mental health.

Mr Sparrow said: “When Harvey was 14, he came to me and said he was struggling. He was distant, preoccupied, and didn’t know which way to turn. A lot of the stress for Harvey was pressure from school and he would tell me that he didn’t want to go in. I tried taking him to the doctors four times, and nothing improved. Whenever we would leave, it would be like a kick in the stomach and he’d end up worse into the depression than he was before."

Harvey attended the Blues Programme, for ‘early help’ support, with charity Action for Children where he opened up about his feelings and started talking to his friends and teachers more about the problems.

Mr Sparrow said: “The Blues Programme was so worthwhile for Harvey. He went on to complete his exams which he absolutely smashed!  Now, he’s gone onto sixth form and he’s excelling at that and really enjoying the schoolwork. He’s so positive and engaging, he’s infectious to be around. He just creates a kind of aura around himself and sheds light on any room he’s in."

Mr Sparrow for Badsey said:“I just feel eternally grateful to Action for Children for what they’ve done so far and without a doubt the help they have given Harvey has been both life-saving and life changing.  I’ve decided to raise money for the charity by running 500km in six months, which might sounds crazy but I just want to keep raising awareness of what the charity does and let people know how fantastic the Blues Programme really is”.

To mark Children’s Mental Health Week Mr Sparrow aims to run 500km (310 miles) by the end of April 2020 in support of Action for Children. He is regularly running on mornings and evenings and plans to enter at least two half marathons to reach his goal.

Funded by Royal Mail, the Blues Programme is run by Action for Children across the UK and has successfully reduced teenage depression by up to 70%1. The programme is based on cognitive behaviour therapy and helps young people understand the connection between negative thoughts, actions and feelings.

Since starting the challenge in December, Paul has already reached 160km. You can support Paul and track his progress here by visiting justgiving.com/Paul-Sparrow6