Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-08-12

10 : 10 : 10


10 NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2020 Thanks to the NHS, I’m really going places! News Grieving family hope to break ‘taboo’ of male mental health By EMMA PENGELLY SISTER’S TRIBUTE TO ‘SUPERHERO’ @EmmaPengge­lly PARAMEDIC CHRISTOPHE­R, WHO is flying high as an occupation­al therapist TOOK HIS OWN LIFE LAST MONTH A “KIND and gentle” paramedic who dedicated his life to caring for and helping others has taken his own life. Father-of-two Christophe­r Ealden, from Farnboroug­h, died on July 25. His younger sister, Sammie Lovell, said her family has been left “utterly broken” but determined to break the taboo surroundin­g men’s mental health. Sammie, 30, from Lincolnshi­re, said: “It comes in waves – one minute I’m alright and then it hits me that I am never going to see him again. It’s the most heartbreak­ing thing and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.” Christophe­r worked for South Central Ambulance Service for 10 years and was based at the Bracknell ambulance station. He started off as an emergency care assistant (ECA) and worked his way up to become a paramedic. He had been in the role for two years and also mentored student paramedics. Christophe­r’s ambition was to work in the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), a role which typically involves trauma patients. Sammie said: “He absolutely loved his job and he loved helping other people. He was so kind, caring and gentle.” He was “exceptiona­lly good” at his job, Sammie added, and explained she was especially proud of all he achieved as he had autism and ADHD too. Following his death, Christophe­r gave a lifeline to unwell children and adults through organ donation. “No one has a bad word to say about him, his smile lit up a room. He always put everyone else first, he just wanted to help people,” Sammie said. “But my amazing, superhero brother – who has done nothing but save lives – went on to save more with his organs.” Christophe­r has also been described as an amazing father to his eight-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. And a newly discovered passion of his was rollercoas­ters. As cAreers go, you might imagine one which takes you around the world would be hard to beat. But former travel agent Kate Ward, 40, wanted to have a more lasting impact on people’s lives than she could by securing them a bargain break. WHAt NEEd KNOW... yOu tO “I’d left school at 17 with very few qualificat­ions,” explains Kate, who lives in Leeds with her husband Liam and son Logan, 19. “The TV show Wish You Were Here...? enticed me to become a travel agent. “I remember seeing the presenter visiting the Maldives. Within about a year of starting, I was on a plane heading out there. The whole trip was amazing.” But when Kate became a lone parent at 21, she decided it was time to broaden her horizons. “Travel agency work had been fun but I wanted to realise other ambitions, develop new skills and do something that contribute­d to improving lives,” she says. “Becoming a mum changed my aspiration­s.” Kate had grown up with a family member who had mental health issues, and in her early twenties she sought help for an eating disorder herself. Having experience­d NHS mental health services first hand, she knew the work would be varied, interestin­g and allow her to help others. It took two years for Kate, then 23, to build up the courage to make the leap. “I decided to just go for it,” she says. “I used the office skills I had from the travel agency to become a secretary for a mental health and learning disability trust. “From there I applied to become a PA, then my managers encouraged me to study for a degree in occupation­al therapy and, after that, a masters. “I was lucky to join an organisati­on where I was really invested in, and I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve been given along the way.” Occupation­al therapists work across the NHS to support people whose physical or mental health stops them doing activities that matter to them. “I love it because it’s dynamic, collaborat­ive, person centred and focussed on supporting people to enable them to live the life they want to live during times of poorer mental or physical health,” says Kate. These days she only uses her travel agency know-how to help friends plan holidays online – and doesn’t regret her career swap for a second. “I’m so proud to work for the NHS and so lucky to be doing a job I love,” she adds. OCCUPATION­Al THERAPIST SALARy £24K+ HOURS 37.5 PER WEEK Christophe­r Ealden was an ‘exceptiona­lly good’ paramedic, according to his sister Mental health with men is taboo, men are told you can’t cry and you have to be strong. And men can hide it so well. SAMMIE LOVELL 125 people in the UK take their own lives and 75% of all UK suicides are male. Sammie said: “I am hoping this money can fund more people on the ends of those phones to save more lives. “Mental health with men is taboo, men are told you can’t cry and you have to be strong. And men can hide it so well. “You might not know on the outside, but on the inside they could be hurting. And they don’t feel like they can express it. “If one person picks up that phone in their hour of need and they get talked down from doing something silly, then that is one life saved.” Sammie knows the charity donation is not going to bring her brother back. “But if this money can save more lives and help more people battling in their own head, then Christophe­r’s death hasn’t been in vain,” she added. S a mmi e said he would often go on trips to Thorpe Park, and they had planned a day out at Alton Towers at the end of July but Christophe­r died before they were able to go. Due to the coronaviru­s, the last time Sammie was able to see her brother was prior to lockdown. “He was my protector and my hero, always there for me on the end of the phone. I’m struggling that I’m never going to see him again,” Sammie said. But in spite of the heartbreak, Christophe­r’s family is determined to speak candidly about his suicide to help prevent others. Sammie has launched a GoFundMe page and is raising money for suicide prevention charity CALM. According to CALM, which stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably, every week 4 yEAR Sammie Lovell full timE DEGREE (PArT Time ALSo AVAilABle) £5,000 TOWARDS yOUR ENGLISH UNIVERSity DEGREE eXTrA fundS of up TO AVAilABle £3,000 SUBJECt tO ELIGibilit­y To find ouT more ABouT THe nHS GO TO JoininG GOV.UK/NHSCAREERS PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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