"If you've got a dream, just go for it. What have you got to lose?"

Chatting to Verwood's Trevor Parsons, it's clear he has a real passion for wildlife photography.

His work has featured on Julia Bradbury's blog, on the BBC and in the Times newspaper, as well as on Getty, and Trevor is keen to make a name for himself.

But it was a very different story seven years ago, when Trevor suffered his second mental breakdown.

"It was pressures of work," he says. "I wasn't eating or sleeping. In the end I broke down and started crying at work. I was under Wimborne Mental Health Team, but they just couldn't spin me round. I was just begging to go to St Ann's Hospital. They didn't section me, but they said I could go in voluntarily. I couldn't think of another way to break the cycle."

When Trevor was discharged, he found he didn't want to leave home. Until a doctor who knew of his love of wildlife and photography persuaded him to walk for five minutes and take a picture of the nearby gardens. He gradually extended his time away from the house and now travels all over Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Cornwall taking photos.

"My dad loved the countryside – he was born in Wiltshire, so I used to have holidays in West Dorset and the Isle of Wight," says Trevor, now 50.

"I got into nature when I lived in Somerset. We used to go deer stalking when I was about ten and since then I've just loved it.

"It's helped me so much."

After meeting wildlife photographer and film-maker Simon King at a talk in Lyndhurst, who suggested Trevor share his images on social media, he set up accounts and now has almost 900 followers on Twitter, including photography company Jessops, from where he bought his first camera.

"I don't know how to play with photographs, and I don't believe in Photoshopping," he says. "But I love doing it, and people seem to like it.

"I'm hitting it in two ways – I love photography and it helps my mental wellbeing.

"When you're going through a mental breakdown, you have all your thoughts and your worries going around in your head constantly. You can't get rid of them. But when you're taking photos or you're out in the countryside, you're focused on that. It's still there, but it fades. You're giving yourself a bit of breathing space."

As well as using social media as a way to share images, Trevor is using his online presence to raise awareness of mental health issues.

"It affects everyone, at the end of the day," he shrugs.

"I'm telling people to not get to the stage I went to. Talk to your mates down the pub – there are people out there.

"I wouldn't want anyone to go through breakdowns, but I have got through the other side. I'm enjoying where I am now in my life."

Trevor is currently working on setting up an exhibition in Verwood, with proceeds going to Dorset Mind, for which he also writes a blog. He is now seeking a sponsor to cover the costs of printing and framing his images for display.

But his ultimate dream is to be able to make a living out of wildlife photography.

"I would love to be in Africa taking photos of cheetahs and being paid for it," he smiles," that's my goal. It's not money – it's about waking up in the morning and thinking 'yes'.

"If I become a professional wildlife photographer, happy days. But if I'm just helping people, then that's good enough for me."

Twitter: @sonsrap10 Instagram: @sonsrap10