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  • Writer's pictureMI Team Training

My story.......

Since I have launched MI Team Training many people have asked why I have moved into the world of training and in particular the field of Mental Health First Aid. I thought it would be worthwhile detailing my story through the medium of this blog.

I personally struggle with the expression "journey" - possibly this is due to too many motorway miles and subsequent stops in dreary service stations but I also see a journey as having a definitive start and finish and in life we are often unsure which route we are destined to take due to changes beyond our control. Some would argue that birth and death are the start and finish and to a certain extent this is of course true but I prefer to see life as an experience rather than a journey.

My experience of aviation started at a tender age as my Dad was a pilot in the RAF, flying aircraft such as the Vulcan amongst others before moving into civilian flying. After positions within marketing and radio sponsorship I moved to Monarch Airlines as Cabin Crew based at Gatwick where I enjoyed 13 years working alongside some truly great colleagues. First Aid training played a large part of that role and that would lay the foundation for MI Team Training some years later.

A move into Cabin Crew Management and a Performance Management role saw me relocate to the Midlands, Birmingham initially and then East Midlands with a brief spell at Leeds Bradford where I assisted in the base setup.

After nearly 17 years I made the move from Monarch Airlines to Eastern Airways where I took the position of Head of Cabin Services, looking after a ground team and Cabin Crew across the UK & France,

From a professional perspective all was good and in my personal life things could not have been better - two amazing children from my first marriage, a newborn son and a beautiful wife. Not to mention a new set of golf clubs!

Then 2 months after the birth of our son the airline I worked for was sold and underwent a cost saving exercise in terms of staff. I was made redundant weeks after having to oversee a redundancy exercise within my own department.

This had a major effect of my income, confidence and self esteem.

At the same time as I was going through redundancy myself, I was also diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Whilst not being the type to frequent a gym I had always enjoyed relatively good health and this came as a major shock to me and my wife. We had a period of several weeks of uncertainty relating to the severity of the Cancer and during this time my wife and I made the decision to keep my illness to our ourselves to protect our children and families. This was physically and mentally exhausting for us both.

From earning a respectable salary and being in a position of responsibility whilst enjoying good health, in a couple of weeks I literally felt like I had lost everything.

The next six months I underwent several operations and numerous hospital visits whilst I also worried what the future held career wise for me. I struggled mentally - I hit lows that I never imagined possible and I questioned sometimes whether I had either the physical or mental strength to win the battles I was fighting. I was trying to protect those around me at the same time - I feared for my wife's health as the focus was on me and yet she bore so much of the stress and pressure. She was my rock.

I felt like every corner I turned I found another barrier to overcome.

I questioned "why me?"

Thanks to our amazing NHS I was free of the Cancer by Christmas 2019 and for their work and expertise I shall always be grateful. However, it was during the preceding six months that I developed an understanding and interest of Mental Health and the impact that it can have on individuals, families, groups. This was where I decided I wanted to raise awareness and assist in any way I possibly can.

Once I was fit enough to look for work I did apply to several jobs within aviation but as Covid-19 started to impact our lives it was clear that aviation would take some time to recover and my focus was on MI Team Training.

I completed my teacher and subject training and launched the business website and social media accounts.

Mental Health can affect anyone - it has no class, age or gender barriers. I was affected by changes to my life which were completely out of my control and I will openly admit that I struggled. I decided I had to beat my Cancer and I was fortunate to have support around me. I still have moments of uncertainty which I believe is normal when launching a new venture but I now have a far better understanding of Mental Health and the way it can impact you and those around you.

That's a brief summary of my story so far - I hope in the near future I have the opportunity to train you and your colleagues on Mental Health awareness.

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