AN EMOTIONAL WELLBEING HUB
OUR MENTORS CREATE AN EMOTIONAL WELLBEING HUB
Our dedicated emotional wellbeing hub of mentors come from all walks of life and have a collective mission to sit with you during life’s challenges, whether physical or emotional.
Remember at different times of our life we may feel broken and unable to deal with what life has thrown at us but our emotional wellbeing hub is here to offer that support.
*Ex British Army
*Mental Health Advocate
Rob is married to Karen and they have two beautiful children, a boy and a girl aged 14 and 9. Rob and Karen have a very challenging private life and are living through their own personal challenges, overcoming a lot of adversity along the way. Their daughter was diagnosed with autism and has a pathological demand avoidant profile which basically means she has debilitating anxiety and it stops her doing a lot of normal everyday tasks.
Rob spent just under 6 years in the Scots Guards, mostly as a wire-guided missile operator, completed two tours of Northern Ireland, took part in Operation Granby, The First Gulf War. Rob also qualified as a French Commando (a career highlight), was “Royal Engineer Search Trained” for the tour of West Belfast, forming part of the Scots Guards Search Team, performing in-depth searches of residential and commercial premises, disused factories and warehouses and wasteland, looking for weapons and explosive caches. Rob served alongside Stephen Bell, the founder of Fitality Ltd.
Rob has a “Forces Family”. His two grandfathers both served in The Great Wars. His Scots grandfather having emigrated to Canada, joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as part of 2nd Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles and was shot and wounded at the battle of Ypres in WWI. His English grandfather served in multiple cavalry regiments during WWII seeing active service in Palestine and North West Europe. His mum and dad met whilst serving in the Royal Air Force.
In his spare time Rob helps care for his 89 year old mother, a former RAF Policewoman, originally from Evanton, Ross-shire in Scotland. He is an army officer in the Combined Cadet Force for his sons grammar school and volunteers as a mentor for SSAFA the Armed Forces charity. All this experience gives Rob an extraordinary depth and wealth of life experience and knowledge which he puts to good use helping others. An excerpt of his work with SSAFA and a former RAF Pilot Officer of 16 years is copied below –
Simon* has found the transition to civilian life difficult but, with the support of SSAFA mentor Rob Eeles, he is overcoming the challenges and gradually finding his feet.
“I feel ashamed of how difficult I found the transition”, says Simon. “Being discharged with mental health conditions arising from service, and having lost the only job I thought I’d ever had, I didn’t feel I had the ability to get and maintain another job. I felt paralyzed by fear about my future, and was unable to do things I needed to do to transition.”
Simon found out about the SSAFA mentoring service after hearing a presentation at Tedworth House. He has since found the support he has received from SSAFA mentor Rob Eeles vital.
“At times, Rob’s help has been the only thing which has kept me going,” he says. “Knowing that someone actually values what I did for the country enough to give up their own time to meet up and help me every week makes the situation, and what it has cost me, easier to bear.
“The SSAFA mentoring program helps you when you most need it, in the months after you leave the military family.”
Simon and Rob meet once a week at a coffee shop and Rob has been able to support Simon in finding employment and managing relationships as well as helping him to come to terms with the mental health conditions that caused his medical discharge.
“Rob has helped with literally everything, from being a cheerful friendly face to helping me interpret situations with friends, colleagues, family, and partners,” Simon explains. “Quite often Rob will say something at one of our sessions and I will find that guides what I do during the week, at home or at work, for the better. He has helped me to take things one step at a time and ultimately get to the much better place I’m in now.”
Having a sounding board outside his immediate circle of friends and family has also proved to be important to Simon. “I think, like a lot of people who join the military, my family isn’t that supportive, and I have few friends after moving around so much. I ended up settling in a completely new area, so there were times when he was the only person I would speak to in a week.”
The difference in the mentoring relationship has made to Simon is significant. In the six months, Rob and Simon have been working together, Simon has made huge strides and is now working full-time, something he wouldn’t have thought possible before.
“When I first met Rob and Stephen, the regional SSAFA mentoring coordinator, I could barely speak or concentrate due to the panic attacks and anxiety I was experiencing. Now I work 40 hours a week and have been in a relationship with a new partner for most of that time. I constantly feel under threat as if something bad might happen, and Rob helps me to interpret this, and to behave more rationally. Just discussing all the things I’m worried about, and getting them out into the open, makes them easier to cope with. Really, I can’t thank Rob enough.”
Rob had previously made the difficult transition from military to civilian life himself and this shared service background proved crucial to building a successful mentoring relationship. “Rob just gets it. He understands what’s important. As a veteran himself, he’s been in difficult situations in both his military and civilian careers, so he knows what he’s talking about. He also understands the issues veterans face in ‘civvy street’. Talking with Rob I get the same sense of camaraderie that I used to appreciate in the military. It’s like we speak the same language.”
* Name has been changed
*Living with Stage 4 Cancer
Hi, I’m Julia. Married with 2 children and 2 dogs. I run my own business & work part-time as a PA, after 20 years in childcare.
I was diagnosed with Secondary breast cancer in July 2016.
It had spread to my spine, hips, ribs, pelvis, and lungs, I was in extreme pain & my quality of life was extremely poor.
By September I was in a wheelchair and a neck brace for fear of vertebrae damage and fractures. I couldn’t walk any way due to the pain but had accepted this was my new life.
Luckily I have the most dedicated oncology team who have always had a good plan in place during my cancer journey. Nearly 5 years in I’ve had a full hip replacement enabling me to walk again. I’ve been through 5 lines of treatments, injections, infusions, tablets, drips, surgeries & blood tests.
My 3 monthly Scans have shown stability, keeping my cancer at bay. Sadly some show progression & further spread. It can knock you back a bit.
Despite all this with the support of my family & friends I’m able to lead a relatively normal life. I can work, walk my dogs, go to the gym, enjoy life. I also know when to rest.
I’m living with this incurable disease, & although I’m now about to start stronger chemo I always stay positive. I seek help from others to guide me through. Talking to professionals & other cancer patients, as well as my family & friends. It’s helped me to get to where I am today.
Life is a journey with many ups & downs. I smile my way through & take on every challenge with all the strength & courage I can find.
I always, always have hope. 😊
*Ex-Police Officer – Medically Retired
*Domestic Abuse Survivor
I served in the Royal Navy for 7 years and Police for 14 before medical retirement in 2013.
Whilst I am not qualified in the mental health field, I have much-lived experience with post-natal depression, depression and anxiety and have been diagnosed with PTSD.
I also have the chronic health conditions of osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis, lumbar degenerative disc disease and have undergone several major spine surgeries.
Among other life experiences I was adopted as a baby, I have survived a terrorist bomb, had a serious parachute accident and was subjected to domestic abuse for several years.
These are the things that seem to trigger my PTSD the most and I can draw from those to share thoughts, feelings and coping mechanisms if you have been through similar and want to chat to someone less formally, and most importantly have someone listen who “gets” it.
As I can no longer work and miss helping people as I did in the Police, being a mentor not only helps the person I am mentoring but also does wonders for my own wellbeing and inbuilt need to help others.
*Founder of Green Ribbon Policing (Campaign for better mental health in policing)
*Project worker at Barnardos.
Hi, my name is Sam. I am an ex-police officer who left policing back in October 2019 due to a decline in my mental health due to the trauma of the job. Since leaving I have created this campaign to get better mental health welfare and support for all police officers in the UK.
I am also the founder of Green Ribbon Policing which is a campaign for better mental health in policing. The campaign aims to get a mandatory national standard of mental health wellbeing for all police officers.
I started my working life in sales and eventually converted my communication and problem solving skills into a new role and joined the police service as a frontline police officer.
I now work in the charity sector and do support and safeguarding work with children that are reported missing and are at risk of exploitation.
In my spare time I am a keen artist and animal lover!
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