Andy is an experienced paramedic who predominately worked on search and rescue helicopters, where he encountered many experiences that had a significant effect on his mental health. In this podcast he discusses his journey through PTSD which led him to head up a mental health first aid campaign, Andy’s Landie, designed to stamp out the stigma of mental health issues and improve the well-being of those in the emergency services and responder community.
Andy talks about his challenges and motivators, and gives really useful information on developing coping strategies and listening skills. He is optimistic that the barriers to discussing mental health are receding – the overall message is its good to talk!
Top tips from this podcast:
- Put your own oxygen mask on first- give yourself some focus
- Use the ‘5 a day’ for Mental Health (connect, be active, mindfulness, keep learning, give)
- It is OK to talk…
Resources related to this podcast:
Find out more at www.AndyElwood.com
5-a-day for #mentalstrength blog – https://www.andyelwood.com/2020/05/01/lockdown-survival-kit/
SHOUT UK and you can text BLUELIGHT to 85258
Andy saves lives. His approach is different, refreshing and unique. He campaigns, speaks and is a Mental Health First Aid instructor.
Andy sparks conversations which enables culture change regarding Mental Health and Wellbeing for individuals and organisations. He creates safety and trust by sharing his own vulnerability and gives a unique ‘behind the scenes’ insight into life and death situations on Search and Rescue helicopters, on the Afghanistan battlefields during military service and to the potential downward spirals due to 21st Century pressures.
Andy has a male focus and believes that mental health deserves parity with physical health. His unique approach to communicating with men is driven by the fact that men are three times more likely than women to end their life by suicide.
After 18 years working on rescue helicopters around the world, he believes that focusing on mental health will save more lives than continuing to dangle under helicopters, as a paramedic. Andy’s Search and Rescue career began with the Royal Air Force and was completed in the Coastguard, where he led Clinical Governance for half of the UK. Despite Andy’s various awards for physical courage, he believes his bravest action has been to talk openly about his own struggles and vulnerability, in order to find a way through three very different challenges during his lifetime.
Andy brings people together by normalising the conversation and encouraging others to join his eye-catching campaigns, such as #itsoktotalk ‘Big22’ video (45,000 views), founding #MenDoLunchDay 2018, & driving his 1973 Land Rover around Northern England and Scotland promoting a Wellbeing and Resilience Framework for a national organisation. (A short film of this tour will be released 2020). Future projects include ‘Chinwag Curry Club’ & retreats for men.
Since HRH Duke of Cambridge attended Andy’s Mental Health workshop, at the UK Search and Rescue National Conference in 2018, he has been engaged as a speaker by organisations such as University of Cambridge Medical School; Jacobs (construction industry); Scottish Mountain Rescue; Emergency Services Show (NEC) and Mind Blue Light Programme.
Other interests: College of Paramedics National Mental Health & Wellbeing Steering group; Human Factors training to provide increased safety & efficiency, from the aviation industry into a healthcare setting; delivering face-to-face and online medical training for responders treating civilian casualties in the Syrian crisis.