Father of Durham heart transplant teen advocates for men’s mental health support.

Shaun Sidney, a father from County Durham, is speaking out about male mental health following the traumatic experience of his daughter’s life-saving heart transplant. Kayleigh Llewellyn, who was just 12 years old at the time, collapsed while playing football in 2019 and required a heart transplant due to cardiomyopathy. Thankfully, the transplant was successful, and Kayleigh has since completed her GCSEs, attended her school prom in a Mustang, and even won gold at the World Transplant Games. Inspired by their family’s experience, Shaun has taken on a “ManBassador” men’s mental health role at his workplace, Taylormade Timber Products, where he is a forklift truck trainer. He aims to support his colleagues and raise awareness about the strain and stress that can impact mental health.

Shaun reflects on the support he and his family received during their challenging journey and recognizes the importance of having a strong support system. Motivated to help others facing similar struggles, Shaun has become a peer supporter and is working to provide assistance to his colleagues at Taylormade Timber Products. He emphasizes the need for support in dealing with trauma and the potential impact it can have on various aspects of life, including work. Through the ManBassador program, Shaun and his colleague have already assisted more than 10 individuals by offering guidance and ensuring their issues are acknowledged and addressed.

The ManBassador program, led by Emily Pearson, aims to combat issues leading to depression and suicide among men by providing peer support in a gender-specific, workplace setting. Emily, who has extensive experience in mental health, believes it is essential to shift the focus from blaming men for not discussing their problems to improving the services and interventions available to support them. The program promotes camaraderie, trust, and open conversations about improving health and well-being. Shaun is actively involved in the program and plans to continue his education in self-harm and suicide prevention. Those interested in learning more about Emily’s organization, Our Mind’s Work, can visit their website, and additional information about the ManBassador program can be found on the ManHealth website.

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