EUAN McPherson knows the miseries of severe mental ill-health only too well.

But Euan has refused to be defeated by his demons.

He is chief executive of Services for Independent Living (SIL), the Leominster-based organisation that provides services that let disabled and older people live independent lives in their own homes within their own community.

And he has drawn on his own experiences to provide mental health first aid training for every employee at SIL.

The result has been profound.

SIL employees are now flag fliers in the identification of mental ill-health, and Euan's contribution is being recognised in a nomination in the Mental Health category of the Hereford Times Health and Social Care Awards 2019.

Val Javens, a manager at SIL who has put Euan forward for the award, said: "In essence, Euan's own mental ill-health has led to SIL's supportive and understanding culture, giving rise to employee loyalty and a welfare philosophy with the mental wellbeing of all our employees at its hub."

She said Euan was one of the one in four people who experienced severe mental ill-heath.

"I would like to nominate him for his ability to turn his hugely negative experiences into a movement within Herefordshire to benefit others experiencing the same depths of blackness, suicidal tendencies, and a wish to escape their problems.

"Rather than shy away, negating the bouts of ill-health he has had, Euan's candid ability to accept them as an

illness and to talk about them in an open, frank and unembarrassed fashion encourages those around him to accept that mental ill-health is an illness, not something to be humiliated about and certainly not something to be hidden."

She said Euan an intense week-long course to become a trainer, during the course of which past experiences and memories of extremely bad times were dredged up.

He is now SIL's mental health first aid trainer, and the organisation, at considerable expense, has provided training to at least 200 people.

The Hereford Times Health and Social Care Awards, which are now in their second year, will again salute outstanding work by individuals and teams in the health and social care sector across Herefordshire.

The 12 categories are: Care Team, Care Hero, Care Home Worker, Domiciliary Carer Worker, Good Nurse, Care Trainer, Dignity in Care, Dementia Carer, Palliative/End of Life, Mental Health Care, Care Employer and GP Practice of the Year.

Our headline sponsor is the University of Worcester, the region’s leading healthcare training provider.

A series of supplements in the Hereford Times and special coverage on our website and social media will promote the awards and publicise those shortlisted.

The climax will be an awards ceremony in September when the winners and runners-up are revealed, followed by a special supplement in the Hereford Times highlighting all the successful entrants.