Meet our Mental Health First Aiders: Suzy Thomas

This month for Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to take the opportunity to introduce you to the fab Mental Health First Aiders we have here at HOME. This week is the turn of Suzy Thomas, our Project Leader.

Why did you first want to be trained up as a MHFA and why do you think it’s important?

I personally find that chatting really helps when I’m down or worried or have something going on, whether that’s big or small. I also wanted to be sure that if someone does reach out to me, that I know the right types of things to do to actually help. After losing my parents within a very short space of time, I learnt a lot about the importance and positive effect of people just checking in and the huge impact just having a chat can have.

How do you think people’s attitude towards mental health is changing and how would you like to see it continue to develop?

I think for a really long time it’s been overlooked and swept under the carpet, luckily the stigma and the openness to talk has improved, but there’s still a long way to go. Unfortunately the pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health, it’s been a massive test to all of us.

It’s very easy to forget to check in with friends, family, colleagues, or to write something off as someone just having a bad day, when in actual fact it might be a sign of something going on with them personally. It’s important we check in with each other. There’s often a fear that you could offend someone by asking how they’re doing, but as long as you’re being genuine, there’s nothing to worry about, that person might have really needed that message.

Is there anyone you think is inspiring in the mental health space?

I follow an interesting account called @thegriefcase on Instagram that I find really helpful. It allows people who’ve suffered from loss to submit poems, thoughts, drawings etc and feels like a little community, they even have open chats and have guest speakers/collaborators on. It’s a space that makes it clear that it’s ok to feel how you’re feeling which can be extremely comforting.

Brené Brown also has a lot of interesting talks that were brought to my attention during my training, and apps like Calm can be very helpful too.

How do you switch off from work?

Typically I’ll take my dog out for a walk as soon as I finish work, even if it’s raining it helps me to step from one headspace into another. One thing that was really emphasised on the course was ensuring you have stress outlets, this helps you to actually manage the stress you do have. Mine include interior styling short courses and anything interiors based, listening to records whilst cooking or listening to audio books whilst doing jobs around the house.

What’s top of your bookshelf?

Nora Ephron’s ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’ to me felt like I was sat with one of my friends, or someone from my family. It’s a really familiar, honest bunch of thoughts that I found to be extremely comforting.

Another favourite was ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman, a novel about a grieving, grumpy yet loveable character who’s stubbornly and begrudgingly bumbling through life.

What’s a simple pleasure that brings you joy?

Treating myself to a nice bunch of flowers, they don’t need to be anything fancy, but they really brighten a space and my mind.

Written by:

Georgia.Preston Senior Marketing Executive


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