ONE year ago next month, staff at SJL Insurance were invited by the CEO Simon Lancaster, to see mental health nurse Carie Workman for the first time.

Mr Lancaster has reflected on the help one year on. He said: "Hiring Carie has been beneficial for staff morale and staff being emotionally connected to the business as well as boosted staff retention and productivity. Staff have benefitted by taking fewer sick days.

"One third of our 70 staff have had a mental health session with Carie and said it’s been more beneficial than anything else they’ve tried before.

"Issues range from family stress related to relatives working in the NHS in a high-risk Coronavirus location, domestic abuse, anxiety, working from home isolation and suicidal thoughts. I am glad they’ve found it beneficial and we are glad to help."

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SJL Insurance account executive Ellie Bould said: “I have struggled with my mental health for a number of years. My anxiety and over thinking started when I was in a long physically and mentally abusive relationship.

"The issue was that I couldn’t get away from the main problem as it was domestic abuse, so the place that should have been my safe place became the most dangerous place for me.

“I lost all my confidence, lost my enthusiastic and outgoing personality. As part of my anxiety attacks, I was physically sick multiple times per day but still had to try and get on with my normal life, knowing that going home and getting into an argument could end in another wave of abuse.

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"I was physically scared, lied to and worried about everything. It led me to be very sceptical of people, unable to trust and always thinking the worst of every situation; as if the world was against me.

“I was very fortunate to be offered free sessions at SJL Insurance with a mental health nurse, Carie Workman, and since then I have improved so much.

"I now have ways of dealing with my thoughts and she has taught me how to not apply past stigma to current situations. I now have coping mechanisms and know how to deal with irrational thoughts."