The horrors of warfare leave many people so affected that their mental health is irreparable; however, Nick Wilson has been able to use his experience of surviving a suicide attempt, PTSD, and depression to help hundreds of thousands of people who, without his help, are often forgotten. Nick began serving in the British Army in 1999, where he toured Iraq and Afghanistan and witnessed many traumatic things, which ultimately profoundly affected his mental health.
After 14 years of service, wanting to live a ‘normal’ life, Nick left the army and set up a successful chauffeur business “Purely Platinum”. Unfortunately, two years later, in 2016, unable to fight his inner demons any longer, he attempted suicide. Fortunately, Nick recovered to good health, and his experience has led him to make an impactful change in the mental health community.
He studied cognitive behavioural therapy, mental health first aid, and neurolinguistic programming, which led him to found both “360 Well-being”, a foundation dedicated to providing the best well-being strategy for workforces, and ‘First Step Forward,’ which aims to help army veterans readjust to civilian life and offer tips to mental health self-awareness.
Nick has also been behind some incredibly successful mental health campaigns, such as #RealMenTalk and #TimeToListen, in 2018 and 2019, which reached over 250,000 people.
He is now campaigning to get more representation and, therefore, awareness surrounding the topic of suicide and suicide survivors. For every suicide, there are at least 40 attempts. He has seen firsthand how the little information gathered around this issue has resulted in people being failed and ignored. While running a men’s peer support group, Nick witnessed many losing good friends to suicide who received little to no help. He believes the government’s current advice, which states that speaking about suicide can be triggering and detrimental, is outdated and incorrect, a view shared by organisations such as Samaritans and Grassroots suicide prevention. It paints a bleak, hopeless picture of the issue. It deters journalists and reporters from engaging with the stories of survivors or bereaved families to further the conversation around this topic.
As a response to this, Nick has launched his podcast ‘Lived Experience Chats,’ where he asks his guests to share their experiences living with disabilities, mental health issues, and suicide to give a voice to people who feel unheard and unseen in the hope that it will provide people in similar situations with messages of strength. It also shows that surviving suicide is possible and creates courageous role models to inspire and empower.
Nick’s story is truly incredible, and through his ambassadorship for Global Goodwill, he is continuing to break the stigma surrounding the topic of suicide and advocate for a better understanding of mental health.