A year on.

It seems that 29th March is always “Hannah moves house day”. First when I was 8, back in 2000, when my family moved into the current family home, secondly when I moved to Suffolk, and finally when I moved from Suffolk.

That day was a year ago today. I won’t lie to you, I don’t remember much of it other than extreme stress and lots of tears. Although I was relieved to be leaving, I knew that I was leaving my home of four years behind, as well as most of my independence, and that was a bitter pill to swallow. The reason I had to move is pretty bad. If you have followed my (currently on hiatus) YouTube channel, you might have seen my Rock Bottom video, and that is what I am relating to here. In the space of two weeks my relationship broke down, my contract wasn’t renewed at my job so I was soon to be unemployed, and my landlord put my house on the market. What a trifecta. But that’s not what this blog is about. That is just a little context.

So what am I saying? Well today I was certified as a mental health first aider. It was something I wanted to do for quite some time, and my work gave me the opportunity to give it a go. It was a tough course, but it made me reflect on so much, especially just how much healthier I am from this time last year. Moving to Bristol was one of the best decisions I have made. Sure, my living situation could be better, but at least I am independent again. Sure, my work isn’t well paid, but my contract is longer than it would ever be in commercial archaeology, and I have learnt skills that can progress my career like I never thought possible. Sure, I could be a bit more adventurous and throw myself back into the dating game, but I know that I need baby steps and still more time to heal.

But, boy oh boy, am I thankful that my support network is so strong. Of course, I knew good, caring, decent people in Suffolk, but I rarely felt like I belonged anywhere, and never wanted to burden people with my problems. Here in Bristol, I truly feel like I can lean on people when I need to – and I hope I repay that favour when necessary! I have a group of friends who check on me daily, invite me out to try new things nearly every weekend, and don’t treat me like a crazy person.

I always knew that they would be there for me, but having gone on this course I can see just how important having that network is. Having someone to ask the right questions, to sit you down and just let you rant and get it all out, to take you out of the situation and address the issue. Although I would never wish mental illness on anyone else, knowing that I am now better equipped to help someone else who is suffering, makes me feel more confident and just a better person.

Honestly, if you are interested in the wellbeing of your fellow human beings, especially if you manage staff or volunteers, get on the course. Get. On. The. Course. It should be just as mandatory in the workplace as physical first aid. Put the health back into health and safety.

Mental Health First Aider course website → https://mhfaengland.org/

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