David was grieving the recent death of both his mother and his father-in-law when the Covid pandemic struck. The 50-year-old nurse was working on a ward for elderly people at the time. Seeing so many people ill and dying from the virus, while trying to come to terms with the loss of his mum, took its toll.
“I can’t describe what we all went through, it was hell,” said David, from County Durham. “A lot of colleagues have burnt out as a result of their experiences of Covid. I had a lot to deal with and I wasn’t able to be at work or anywhere near work.”
David was introduced to the Able Futures programme, delivered by Ingeus, and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. It provides free mental health support and regular appointments with a mental health specialist: a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant (VRC).
David’s Able Future’s VCR is Peter Robinson-Vernon. “I am very, very lucky to have that external support mechanism,” said David. “I can sit down once a month with Peter to listen to me. He has given me different ways to cope with my grief and different strategies to allow me to function, stay at work and not go off sick.
“Able Futures has allowed me to become better, it is fantastic.” David is a huge supporter of the scheme and has recommended it to family members and friends. He now works in Intensive Care, something he would not have been able to do before.
“It’s the worst of the worst, I am still having to deal with people dying from Covid every week,” said David. “I would not be able to go there if it wasn’t for the help Peter has given me. I have the best strategies in place to deal with my mental health.”
David, who said opening up to his family has also helped, said programmes like Able Futures are crucial. “So many men are committing suicide – it’s Peter and people like him that we really need now,” he added. “I can’t recommend Able Futures enough.”