A Peer Mentor Coordinator from Wigan, who is using his own journey to help others through theirs, has been shortlisted in the prestigious Mental Health Awards.
The Mental Health Awards are a celebration of outstanding and inspirational stories from across the UK and internationally.
Since 2019, organisations, services and individuals have been awarded for their relentless work toward making a difference in their communities.
Kieran Jones, who works at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), has been shortlisted in the ‘Inspirational Story’ category, which celebrates service users or clients who have overcome overwhelming challenges to tackle their mental health or wellbeing, or those whose lives have been affected by the mental health of others.
Kieran, from Bamfurlong in Wigan, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, and addiction. In February 2020, he was admitted to Atherleigh Park, a mental health inpatient unit in Leigh, run by GMMH.
“A number of years ago, I went through a traumatic experience which left me with severe, complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“I had flashbacks and nightmares which really affected me. I also suffered from depression, anxiety, and addiction.
“This caused me to lock myself away – I didn’t come out of my house for a long time, I wasn’t sleeping, and I struggled with day-to-day tasks. This peaked when I made a suicide attempt, and I knew I needed help.”
Kieran received support from GMMH’s Wigan and Leigh service as both an inpatient and in the community.
“I could learn about my mental health, find out about useful coping mechanisms, and start to get better.
“When I was discharged, they gave me lots of useful advice - from how to improve my sleep pattern, to how to have a healthier diet. These simple self-care tips really helped me to feel better, and to learn to love myself.”
Kieran started working with GMMH, when he was asked to co-chair the design group for the ‘Wigan and Leigh Living Well Service’ and now works for the service as a Peer Mentor Coordinator.
“In December 2022, I started my role as Peer Mentor Coordinator, and my first priority is to recruit a team of Peer Mentors.
“From personal experience, I know how hard it can be to reach out for support. If I had had a peer mentor all those years ago when I was struggling – someone who had been in my position, someone who I could trust, this would have had a huge impact
“Our Peer Mentors will be providing person-centred support – it’s not just about mental health, it’s about helping people to be part of a community.”
So far, Kieran has supported the service to develop their Peer Mentor offer, with plans in place for seven full time Peer Mentors and 15 Volunteers.
Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on Thursday 2 November at the Dickens Inn in London.
To find out more about the mental health support available in Wigan, visit Services in Wigan | Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT (gmmh.nhs.uk).