Former SSI worker Neil Carter has launched his own mental health training business, NDC Training, with the aim of helping people save lives.
His business, based in Middlesbrough, was set up with funding from the SSI Task Force, and runs courses to help businesses understand potential mental health problems in the workplace.
It is designed to help employees identify signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide support on a first-aid basis if necessary.
Neil Carter, who had worked for SSI for 27 years, said: “I had originally trained as a mental health instructor six years ago but only done it on an ad-hoc basis.
“Being made redundant gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate my career and follow my passion which is to help people.
“I can honestly say if everyone knew more about how to handle someone with a mental health issue at work, it could be the key to them getting better quickly and also avert it becoming an emergency.”
He has two services available one for a two-day Mental Health First Aid course and covers problems including depression, eating disorders and self-harm as well as suicidal colleagues.
There is also a short Mental Health First Aid three-hour introductory course which covers how to identify potential discrimination surrounding health problems as well as advice on how to identify them.
Neil has already won contracts to provide his services to a local organisations including Tata Global Beverages, MIND, Coast & Country and Middlesbrough College.
He has also just returned from a London-based mental health youth training course which enables him to support staff at colleges and schools, handling pupils needs from eight-years-old.
He was promoting his company at a recent business event organised by Tees Valley Business Club, North East England Chamber of Commerce and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council.
Rachel Anderson, head of policy, the Chamber said: “Neil is a great Chamber member who inspires us all with his ambition to succeed and help others at the same time.
“The estimated cost of mental health problems runs into millions of pounds each year so using his service makes good business sense as well as safe-guarding employees.
“It is always great news when a former SSI worker overcomes challenges and starts the next phase of their career.”
Amanda Skelton, chair of the SSI Task Force and chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council, added: “Mental health and wellbeing is so important to all of us and I’m pleased that Neil is providing a service that will help businesses across the borough and beyond.
“Since the closure of SSI, the Task Force funding has helped set up over 170 businesses and there is still help and support available for people to start a new venture or have a career change – please get in touch if you would like to explore this further.”
The guests at the event held at Redcar & Cleveland Heart also heard at first-hand about the MGT Power £650m Tees Renewable Energy Plant, which is due to begin commissioning in 2019.
There was also an update from Sue Houston, business relationship manager for the newly-named Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East).
Business success stories were also shared from a personal chef to rock bands including Radiohead, Sarah Muir, who runs the successful Arches Cookery School when she is not on the road.
The entrepreneur Lorna Jackson of the Farmers Market (Saltburn and Stockton) Saltburn Food Festival and Real Meals outlined her achievements at the meeting. She told the meeting just under £400k is earned annually at the market stalls in Saltburn alone, boosting the local economy substantially every year.