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Lauren Matthews

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID INSTRUCTOR

Hi! My name is Lauren and I have been a qualified Mental Health First Aid Instructor since December 2020.

 

My journey began in 2016 when my dad was diagnosed with terminally ill cancer. He died in March 2018 whilst I was in my third year of my BSc Sports Studies at the University of Stirling. I was always a dreamer. I'd make big plans and aspirations of where I was going to go, and what I was going to do with my life, but unfortunately my grief overcame me and I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It consumed me. I never returned to complete my degree in its entirety.

I spent the next 2 years working across a number of different organisations and in December of 2019, I had the opportunity to attend a Mental Health First Aid England 2-day in person course, as part of my work role. I was very hesitant as first. I didn't feel qualified... If I couldn't sort myself out, how was I going to be able to help others with a range of different mental health experiences? 

Nonetheless, I attended the course, and was completely engrossed by the tutor. I felt immediately calm as she talked about her own mental health experiences of anxiety, and was captivated throughout the duration of the course. 

I owe a lot to this tutor, as I now wouldn't be where I am today. Her delivery and her honesty about her life experiences showed me that I could do this too! I immediately went home and began my application to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. My real interest and passion for mental health began here. 

Whilst awaiting for my training dates, I came across an Mental Health Research Administrative Assistant role, applied and I am now apart of a wonderful team who have supported me and my journey to date. Surrounding myself with Research Professionals, current and ex-mental health nurses truly inspired me and re-assured me that this was the career field for me. I have since applied to, and been accepted, to return to university to complete my MSc in MH Nursing and volunteer on the SHOUT Crisis text-line.

Mental Health is a huge passion in our family, with my partner setting up his Personal Training business for people who experience mental ill health, exploring the benefits that physical activity can have on mental health recovery. He, too, suffers from anxiety and depression, but uses his experiences to show others that recovery is possible. He also uses this platform to speak out about mental health, encourage further conversation and de-stigmatise men's mental health. 

 

2020 was a particularly difficult year with the worldwide pandemic, and mental health has been at the forefront of conversation. My aim is to keep this conversation and momentum flowing whilst providing you with the skills and knowledge that you'll need to help someone.

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Why IS MHFA IMPORTANT?