Former SSI worker starts Mental Health First Aid business thanks to SSI Task Force
A FORMER steel company worker has established a new business as a self-employed Mental Health First Aid trainer.
Neil Carter, 46, from Hemlington, Middlesbrough, was a production supervisor at SSI but had become a ‘mental health first aider’ in the course of his work.
Now, after receiving support from the SSI Task Force, he has set up in business, called NDC Training, as a mental health first aid trainer.
The father-of-three also offers professional training courses in handling heavy objects and drink driving rehabilitation and has been hired by companies and organisation across the UK.
Neil explained that, although he had transferrable skills, he struggled at first to find work after SSI closed in 2015.
“I was positive that I would find something and I had strong leads - but nothing came of any of them,” said Neil. “I had three children and a mortgage. It was a scary time and it was my wonderful wife, Sara, who was working who kept the home together.”
Neil, explained that the SSI Task Force enabled him to take a refresher course to earn his licence as a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainer in 2016. MHFA is an internationally recognised training course and Neil offers half-day, one-day and two-day courses and works closely with Tees Training Hub who offer the service. The SSI Task Force Business Start Up scheme then supported him to set up in business. Now Neil is an Associate Trainer for MHFA England and a consultant for St John’s Ambulance. For the past 18 months he has also been delivering for drink drive rehabilitation training for Drink Drive North.
He said: “It is very satisfying work. I offer courses for anyone but I think that sometimes it does help some men when they see a big guy like me prepared to talk about these issues. I’m also prepared to talk about the times when I have suffered from depression. The fact is that 76% of all suicides are males but there is absolutely nothing unmanly about talking about these issues. I was proud to part of Public Health South Tees’ BoroManCan campaign and is targeted at the kind of man who might struggle to talk about mental health problems.
“I also enjoy my work helping people understand how important it is not to drink and drive. It is often people who would never dream of driving when really drunk but don’t think about still being over the limit the next morning or are convinced they are OK after two or three beers and they’re not. I am proud to be committed to my community and I really hope my work can make a difference, even if it’s only helping one person get help they need or think twice before they get in a car after a drink.”
Neil said that mental health first aiders have a ‘sign posting’ role and early intervention is key. He also trains people to spot the signs that a work colleague or friend might be going through a bad period.
Amanda Skelton, Chair of the SSI Task Force, said: “I’d like to congratulate Neil on making such a success of his new career and making a positive difference to so many lives. The Task Force is proud to have played a small part in helping Neil to get his business up and running. More help is available for those who wish to be their own boss.”