A personal assistant has sent a message of thanks to our mental health first aiders for the “life-saving” support they gave which helped her through a hospital admission and her phased return to work.

Chloe Taylor, who has a long-term eating disorder and a diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder, turned to our first aiders in October after her mental health began to deteriorate and she started to struggle at work.

She was offered a listening ear, advice on coping mechanisms and practical help to manage her diary. The first aiders, whose training was funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, also noticed when Chloe was having difficulties, and would offer her a cup of tea or take her for a stroll away from the office to give her the opportunity to chat.

“Without those two colleagues, I would be in a very different place right now,” said Chloe. “They were with me from start to finish, from the initial point I went downhill, through my admission to Woodlands mental health unit and during my phased return to work.

“Their ongoing support has been amazing. They check in with me regularly and send me positive messages, which makes me feel really valued. They even researched my conditions so that they really understood me and have always been there when I have needed them.

“I’m now doing really well and am back at work full time and managing my workload well. I have had an appointment with Occupational Health which I found incredibly helpful and supportive, as well as weekly catch ups with my first aiders. I know that I am able to reach out if I need to.

“I am really thankful to them for their support. They have been life-saving and were there to intervene during the dark times. Thanks to them I feel like a completely different person and am back to doing the things I enjoy.

“I’ve also started working with an eating disorders charity to use my own experiences to help other people, which is really important to me but something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I wasn’t in such a positive place myself.”