Nina Maan is one of our senior training consultants here at Accelerator. She is also our mental health ambassador and this is her story.

Nina lost both her parents within the space of 5 months. In 2013, her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which was kept hidden from Nina and her siblings because of the stigma around mental health within her community. When her mum had a stroke in 2015 which led to an outcome of vascular dementia, her dad’s health rapidly deteriorated, leading her to have him hospitalised, which is when she was told about her dad’s diagnosis.

Fortunately, Nina’s sister lived nearby to help support her parents and her brother was able to move back home to help care for their dad. Over Christmas 2015, her dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died in the summer of 2016.

Nina was confused and upset at the feeling of relief when her dad passed. Because her dad had been in pain for so long, she understood on a very practical level why she was relieved but, on an emotional level, she was upset at how it made her feel. Sadly, in December 2016, Nina’s mum unexpectedly had a stroke a few days after returning from her dream holiday and she passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Nina thought she was doing OK until, during her training to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, she was watching a video on depression and found herself in tears. It was at this point she decided she needed to seek help.

“We all know our car needs an MOT and service for a regular tune up, but do we all think the same way about our mental health?”

Fast forward a few years and Nina has become a MHFAider® Instructor. She now starts every training session by sharing this deeply personal story. She believes that, by being vulnerable herself, she can encourage her participants to feel safe to open up and consequently make the most out of the training to become a MHFAider® or learn more about mental health and its impact.

“When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you hope people will accept you for who you are. When you share your vulnerability, the impact can be enormous and help build stronger bonds”.

Nina and Steve Farmer created a convincing proposal to Accelerator’s founders to start offering mental health training to their clients and when we all went into lockdown in March 2020, Nina and Steve started co-delivering various mental health modules with Nina also delivering MHFAider® training.

Her passion has driven Accelerator forward. MHFA England® have a mission of 1 in 10 people being trained in Mental Health across UK businesses. Thanks to Nina, we have smashed that target, with 8 in 20 people trained as MHFAiders® at Accelerator.  

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