I have been personally touched by suicide. My husband having committed suicide when our daughter was only 6 months old.
I alway vowed to her and me that I would make a difference.
That opportunity arrived when meeting Tom Chapman when whilst cutting my hair he asked me to be a Trustee.
I bring commercial, marketing and sales expertise to our board. As today I am Senior Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa for one of the worlds largest IT and People businesses. If we can just save one family the pain and grief we went through then everything is worthwhile.
Dr Peter Aitken, MB ChB MRCGP FRCPSYCH DCH DRCOG FHEA worked briefly as a GP in South West London before pursuing a career in Psychiatry. He is Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. Director of Research & Development & Director of Medical Education at Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Honorary Associate Professor University of Exeter Medical School. He was RCPsych Psychiatrist of the Year 2016 and is immediate past Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry 2013-17. He is trustee at the Anthony Nolan Trust, chair of the RNLI Medical Committee and trustee at Lions Barber Collective. Peter lives and works in Devon.
“I’ve been a doctor since 1987 and a psychiatrist since 1995. Very many more people go to get a haircut than see a mental health professional. So if even only a few mental health professionals can support many barbers look after their clients mental health and well-being…….”
I have been working within social support services since 2011, within this time I have been blessed to work alongside the most vulnerable members of society- learning difficulties, challenging behaviour, substance misuse, mental health and over the past few years in homeless prevention.
I first got involved with the lions to volunteer my time to help develop a safe place with the lions den service, giving customers an opportunity to speak to a professional at the salon, and support them with signposting to the correct services within them community.
When the lions asked if I would like to be a trustee i seen it as a opportunity to have an input of how this great idea can go forward, and hopefully opening more opportunities for the public to build the support network around them (walks and dens etc).
My hopes for the lions is to build a place for compassion in the community for anyone that wishes to use our service.
The appeal of the lions for me was the idea of a simple and effective intervention that we can achieve for the public (something completely different from the support I normally do). Individuals not having to be referred by professional and jump through hoops to get to us. They can just turn up and hopefully work along side us to build a support network around them for their own recovery.
At present within social services funding is being cut in police services, community mental health services, homeless prevention, youth services etc- it all effects the society we live in and them individuals within that. With this happening around us more people are going to fall through this very small net that is already in place.
The Lions can create a very important safe place for the community and I am proud to be a part of it.
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