Dear PPMA friends

This week we are sharing an important story about mental health from a friend of PPMA’s. Nicky Ingham is the Executive Director for HPMA, one of our MOU Partners and she is sharing her own very profound and personal experiences of mental health challenges. Below, Nicky introduces her story and then there is a link to a podcast she participated in. Please do make time to listen to it.

Mental health is an issue that affects many of us and it is one of our Let’s Talk: Wellbeing priorities this year. Our new pages will be up shortly and you can read more about the issue and participate in conversations about it too.

In the meantime, here’s Nicky’s story…

“I am pleased to share my journey of discovery as I like to refer to it, I am not alone in going through what I went through, however, by sharing my story I hope I can offer comfort and support to others.

By way of background, I have always worked in public service, predominantly within healthcare, and undertook over 24 years in a variety of HR and OD roles, culminating in being a Director of Workforce and OD in 3 different organisations. I would describe myself as positive and resilient, with a real passion for people and wanting to make the world a better place for us all to live and work in.

A few years ago, I found myself in a state of despair with both home and work being challenging, you can usually deal with one of these at a time, however when they both throw you challenges; it can feel impossible to deal with. My family is very important to me and when one of them is suffering, you feel it too. My brother was experiencing a difficult break up with his 3 beautiful daughters at the centre, it wasn’t easy to say the least, however I was there for him and for my mum and dad, I was always the one who rescues the situation and put my needs to the back of my mind.

A feeling of isolation and loneliness at work, generated all sorts of perceptions in my mind about who I was, what I was doing, and whether I was achieving. I felt my voice wasn’t heard by others which just added to the isolation if felt, which resulted in a downward spiral of my mental health. When I talk about it now, I can appreciate what a dark place I was in, however at the time I felt alone, and didn’t want to talk to anyone about it, or did I feel no one was interested so put the barriers around me, even higher.

I met Ian Pettigrew, Kingfisher Coaching, when we shared a stage at the 2018 CIPD conference – I shared a snippet of my story with a diverse audience of HR professionals, Ian felt it would make a great podcast that would help others. I totally agreed and find sharing my story is part of my ongoing recovery, if I can support just one person through the power of sharing, then it is totally worthwhile. There is still too much stigma attached to mental health, it is time for us to be open and let people know it can happen to anyone at any time, we are all vulnerable and #ItsOkNotToBeOk

You can listen to the podcast which shares the whole story of how I got to the lowest point, survived and turned things around through several mediums, all with the support of my husband and close friends”.

Nicky Ingham