Ex-marine Andy Grant supports World Suicide Prevention Day

Sefton Council is working alongside ex-marine Andy Grant to support veterans in the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday 10 September.

With 27,000 veterans under age 65 living in Sefton, the Council is dedicated to promoting the support and guidance available to them within the borough.

Bootle-born Andy Grant suffered life changing injuries following an explosion during his first tour of Afghanistan resulting in him losing his leg to amputation.

He found that after leaving the Marines his mental health declined as he attempted to adjust back to normal life.

He says: “For me it was a case of little things going wrong that quickly spiralled. I am not sure if it was depression as such but I knew my mental health was not good and it was probably the lowest I have ever felt.

“That feeling of not having a purpose any more hit me hard.”

Now a personal trainer, Andy’s strength and positive outlook on life has made him the perfect ambassador for raising awareness of the mental health support available to Sefton’s veterans. 

Having lost a friend who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to suicide, Andy knows all too well about the mental health struggles faced by those who have served in the armed forces.

Andy urges veterans to: “speak to people or get involved with organisations sooner rather than later. You will be surprised how many people actually care and want to help.

“For me, my mental health is boosted by the little things like eating healthy food, working out, walks with the dog, fresh air and above all speaking to people when there is a problem.”

Veterans in Sefton is a one stop shop for Sefton’s military veterans offering advice and assistance on a range of issues including health, housing and employment.

It holds NAAFI breaks every Wednesday morning at Brunswick Youth and Community Centre where former and serving Armed Forces Personnel and their families get together for a brew and friendly banter in a relaxed atmosphere. For more information visit www.veteransinsefton.org.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) originally funded Veterans in Sefton with its Voluntary Community and Faith Fund through Sefton CVS and more recently the project has received funding from The Royal British Legion. It has now been established with the assistance of Sefton CVS as an individual charity.

Andy Grant and Veterans in Sefton are supporting the ‘30 Days of Sefton In Mind’ Campaign - to spread the word about local services and activities available to people in Sefton to improve their mental health.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

The overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, but worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope. In Sefton there many activities and services that happen in the community every week, that you might not even know about, which could improve your mental health and help make life a little easier.

So, from World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) to World Mental Health Day (10th October) we are going to spread the word about local services and activities available to people in Sefton. Look out for the hashtag #SeftonInMind and join in by telling us about good local services and activities that have helped you.

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