'Don't suffer in silence' New business venture for Wakefield butcher who is sending a message on mental health

A Wakefield butcher will be opening a new shop this weekend, and will be employing staff who are suffering, or have suffered, with mental health problems.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 2:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 3:25 pm

Mark Freeman, from Wrenthorpe, was himself diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD ) last year after a 20 year battle, suffering from numerous traumatic events throughout his childhood, including losing his grandfather as a teenager.

Mark said "I was really close with my grandad. I idolised him and when he passed away to cancer, it crushed me.

"That same week, my parents decided to divorce and that's when it just got too much and I ran away to South Africa to stay with a friend."

Mark Freeman's butchers, Artizan, will be opening in Wakefield this Saturday.

But he was still suffering with his mental health, getting into fights and using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

"Everything I went through I didn't know how to talk about it," he said. "And I didn't know what was going on, I went into self destruct."

"Back then it didn't feel okay talking about it, it didn't feel right opening up so I was just always this angry kid."

Mark returned home to the UK and decided to get help .

It was only then he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

He said: "Every single day was a constant battle but, despite it all, I battled through."

Mark completed an electrical engineering apprenticeship and began to excel in his career working in director positions for multiple companies.

But the strain and pressure got too much, resulting in Mark taking a step back and leaving the industry.

"I was tinkering on the edge and I had to surrender myself to get the professional help I needed." Mark said.

In 2020 he was diagnosed with C-PTSD and began treatment including talking therapy.

"I was misdiagnosed because I gave misinformation, I didn't open up to get the treatment I needed and that is important for people to understand.

"It has been horrendously hard, but opening this new shop lets me do what I love while supporting other people.

"If anyone wants to call into my shop and talk, I will talk to you, I know the pain.

"I've had to live with this illness for over 20 years and people need to speak up so they don't go through what I went through for so long."

Mark is set to employ people who suffer with mental illnesses to allow the shop to be a safe zone to open up and talk out loud.

He will be supporting his staff in getting the help they need by directing them to the appropriate care but mostly to encourage them to speak out about their problems.

"You can still work and get support, just because you have a mental illness you do not have to stay at home. "We can help each other." Mark said.

"I just want to put something back into the community."

The butcher shop Artisan will also be raising funds for MIND charity, who offers support to people with mental health.

The grand opening will be this Saturday, March 6 ,at 10.30am and is located at 569 Leeds Road, WF1 2DT.