What I do..
I help people who are struggling or in pain because of mental health problems.
Mental Health problems can manifest in many ways, from the stress and anxiety of coping with our everyday lived, from mild depression to thoughts of suicide, to full on psychotic experience.
The way that I help people is to help them to experience the underlying pain, providing direction to see the nature of their thoughts, and ultimately to look at what lies beyond the thinking mind.
The reason I do this is because this is what has helped me. This has been my path from rather unpleasant experience of life, to one of increasing happiness and fulfillment.
An introduction to me
My life changed at the age of 23 when a friend taught me to meditate in his flat in Middlesbrough.
Before I had seen the world as depressing and grey. I felt alone, isolated, without meaning and purpose to my life.
But even as I drove home that evening, I started to notice the trees, the sky, people’s faces… beauty, the world around.
Something had changed!
The next year I moved into a house and began practising meditation and ethics, and studying Buddhism.
I now have over 20 years Mindfulness Practice behind me.
I have taught extensively, in various contexts and locations.
I have practised yoga, tai chi and qi-gong, and trained in Shiatsu – all practices which help cultivate mindfulness.
And I lived and worked in a Buddhist environment for eight years, honing my ethical practice, attending solitary and communal retreats.
I am now married with two young children. I work as a Peer Support Worker for the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. And I am Buddhist Chaplain in two UK prisons.
Experience of Mental Health
My role as a Peer Support Worker means I used lived experience of mental health problems to support others who are currently in recovery.
This means that I have experience of being in recovery too.
Though I was never a service-user, and never given a diagnosis, I have had first-hand experience of such things as anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and despair.
These nearly 25 years of experience informs what I do now. I have no clinical experience, but have a unique understanding of the mind from looking deeply into it.
My life and work is moving more and more towards helping people with their mental health. I am lucky to work in a positive environment where I collaborate with others with vastly different experiences and training in mental health.
I hope that this website will provide a useful resource to educate and inform those seeking to practise mindfulness, and those looking to help others in mindful recovery.