As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we are running a series of blogs with colleagues sharing their own experiences. Here, Aiden Hugill from our SHEA team in Specialist Services tells us how he became a Kier mental health first aider as he is passionate about helping others.

“I had never really taken my own mental health seriously, however that all changed on the 9th September 2017. I was involved in a road traffic accident that should of cost me my life. I was riding a motorcycle down a country lane when a large industrial tractor pulled out directly in front of me and collided with me.

The physical injuries I suffered were awful, however they have thankfully healed with time. It was my mental health that has been hugely affected – at the time and still to this day. In the months and years after the crash, I have suffered with all forms of anxiety, self-doubt and post-traumatic stress.

A simple act of kindness can change a whole perspective for someone and it did for me.

When I was at my lowest point following the accident my sister came to visit me at home and brought with her a get well soon card and a picture of our family dogs – it was always my favourite and she knew that.

And then, she asked me if I was ok to which I replied, “Yes, I’m fine”. However, she then pressed a little further and reassured me that its ok to say if you’re not. It was a real moment for me – it was the first time in a long time that I truly listened to what was being asked, and when my sister questioned me, because of course she knew me and knew I wasn’t ok, I thought I have to now be open and honest and say ‘no, I am not ok’.

The kindness my sister showed me will never be forgotten and it totally changed my perspective and I was able to be more open with how I was feeling. Over time, I am now in a much better place. I have received help and support and I now want to help others.

When I was first offered the opportunity to become a mental health first aider course at Kier, I was both hesitant and nervous. I knew it would, once again, make me confront my own mental health in order to help others.

The course continues to be one of my most rewarding and though- provoking experiences I’ve had. Through the course, speaking openly about how I am feeling has helped me get back to where I was originally but with much deeper understanding of mental health and how something as small as someone asking “Is everything ok?” makes the world of difference.

As a mental health first aider, you can speak to people from all different backgrounds and experiences with the key point being able to help someone by listening - it might not seem like something hard to do but it can make a lifesaving difference to someone else.

Mental health first aider’s do not have all the answers but by being a network within our workplace, we hope to be able to make a little difference, to make someone else feel just a little bit better and guide them in the direction of others that can further help, then we have done something right.“


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