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Ex Marine helps launch Sefton In Mind campaign

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

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

Bootle-born Andy suffered life changing injuries following an explosion during his first tour of Afghanistan, which resulted in him having to have his leg amputated.

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 had ever felt.

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

He realised he needed support and sought help.

Turning his life around he is now a personal trainer, and 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.

One source of support in the borough is Veterans in Sefton, a one stop shop 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.

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:

“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.”

Sefton Council is promoting 30 stories a day for the 30 days that fall between World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and World Mental Health Day (October 10).

To see the rest of the stories follow #SeftoninMind on twitter.

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