Welwyn man shares his story as part of Every Mind Matters mental health campaign

PUBLISHED: 15:40 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:40 23 October 2019

Nigel Fletcher from Welwyn shared his story for the launch of Every Mind Matters. Picture: Public Health England

Nigel Fletcher from Welwyn shared his story for the launch of Every Mind Matters. Picture: Public Health England

Archant

A Welwyn man has spoken of his coping mechanisms as part of the launch of a new mental health platform.

Public Health England launched Every Mind Matters earlier this month in partnership with the NHS, to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.

Nigel Fletcher, who is 44 and from Welwyn, developed mental health issues while working as a health protection nurse and raising his two children.

He was "ecstatic" to be accepted for a talent management programme, but did not pay attention to how busy he was and how little sleep he had become used to.

In 2014, Nigel had a near miss with a lorry while driving on the motorway, and afterwards had a feeling of panic every time he went to drive.

He said: "I started worrying about things that were out of my control - driving, past life events, the future, politics, everything just felt overwhelming.

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"I started sleeping even less because my mind would not switch off, so I would get up and do work emails, especially if something was worrying me about work.

"I didn't realise it at the time, but I was completely burnt-out and had developed shingles in my ear and mouth, which added to my general feeling of low mood and that something was wrong with me."

Once he realised something was wrong, Nigel reached out to his manager, who contacted the Occupational Health Team. He was then given the support he needed to get back on track.

He said: "One of the main battles is being aware that you are suffering, and not to disregard the feelings and thoughts you may be having.

"There is help out there and that first step of talking to someone is one of the best things you can do to start your recovery.

"Never be ashamed to say you are struggling and seeking help, you will find you are not alone."

Every Mind Matters has been backed by a coalition of mental health charities, and a film to promote the campaign was narrated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The new resources are available for the public and for GPs to recommend to their patients, and the NHS will also promote the platform to its workforce.

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