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Founder: Juan Moore

Juan Moore

Juan Moore, a consultant who is working to improve mental health support and raise awareness on the matter, believes that more needs to be done urgently to tackle suicide.

Juan has been the chief executive officer of the Law Society, a position he held for six years and has since set up a consultancy company.

He is the president of the Chartered Governance Institute where he established a wellbeing committee, and has assisted in establishing the Chamber of Commerce’s Positive Health and Wellbeing Forum.

Juan said: ‘I have suffered from depression from my childhood and throughout my life, mostly accompanied with suicidal thoughts.  

‘I have worked in some difficult environments during my working career and it has been that combination that has led me to undertake work on wellbeing in the workplace.

‘We can all do better for each other, especially in the workplace where we spend so much of our lives.

‘I learned to hide my feelings as a child and never wanted to talk about my struggles with mental health, always pretending I was fine.

‘Even when I could no longer cope I would never countenance the thought of saying anything, even to my wife.

‘Then one Christmas as I struggled at work, with triggered memories of childhood haunting me, I broke down whilst on the phone. I closed the office for Christmas knowing I had to see my doctor and eventually received the help I needed.

‘I have experienced many downs since that day, once leading me to the Crisis team, but my mental health has steadily improved.

‘That is the hope for all those feeling as desperate as I was.

‘It is so important that we talk to each other. If you are in any way concerned about a loved one, friend or colleague, ask them if they are ok, then ask if they are really ok. Start a conversation. There is no evidence that talking about suicide will lead someone to carry it out but asking could just lead to someone reaching out for help.

‘There are many like me who will not ask for help on their own. Imagine how hard it is to tell someone you love you are at rock bottom, the feelings of guilt and selfishness for feeling that way and “letting” it become so bad.’

He added: ‘At a previous position we once lost a colleague to suicide. The atmosphere became horrendous, but what struck me most was no one felt able to address what had happened.

‘I was in a senior position at that time and felt I should act. Part of my job was to produce a weekly newsletter and with that I included articles on mental health. I arranged for a presentation by Cruse Bereavement and another charity which got the conversation started.

‘Eventually four other colleagues offered to assist and we formed a wellbeing committee.

‘With the current losses to suicide we are seeing I feel the same thing is happening again, only on an island scale.

He added: ‘Until recently I was a member of a group called Experts by Experience. The idea behind the group was for those who had been treated by the Community Mental Health Service to provide feedback to Manx Care to improve the service, with the experts advising on what works, what doesn’t and any aspect of their treatment. In addition the experts were to become involved in services advising on proposals from a patient perspective.

‘The group, however, was not working as well as it should. I and two others were asked to present to the board of Manx Care to discuss our experiences and thoughts for improving the group. Unfortunately, we were cancelled at the last minute and as a result I have now left that group.

‘In the meantime, the government published its long-awaited suicide strategy.

‘I have since spoken to several MHKs who have expressed serious concerns about the amount of people lost to suicide and the seeming public inaction of government. I am aware that government is amending the strategy with the departments advising on funding, with such responses required by October.

‘That is already too late for some young men and their families and I fear more might be lost to suicide as we wait for the update to the strategy.

‘I do not want to wait any longer which is why I am speaking out now. Whilst I was not able to present my plans to the board of Manx Care I have decided to proceed separately. I have established a Facebook group called Manx PACT – Manx People Acting Together.

‘Everyone is welcome to visit and post their comments.

‘In time we will organise groups where people can meet to talk openly or simply listen to others in a psychologically secure environment. I am also particularly interested in hearing from anyone undertaking wellbeing work within the community, whether for profit or as a charity. I have already spoken to many organisations as part of my work as chair of the Chamber of Commerce Positive Health and Wellbeing Forum.

‘The Chamber of Commerce Positive Health and Wellbeing Forum will be running a wellbeing in the workplace conference on November 23 entitled “It Takes An Island.”

‘That title signifies exactly how we are going to address the losses to suicide of so many of our fellow citizens. There is still a stigma surrounding mental health and we need our leaders and senior figures to open up and talk about it.

‘I hope that by coming forward others will follow. That we start to hear of the many inspiring individuals who have recovered or are recovering from their debilitating feelings of depression, giving hope to others.

‘Something must be done now and we must not be scared to address the issue.’

A spokesperson for Public Health said: ‘The island’s first Suicide Prevention Strategy was published in March this year and was unanimously endorsed by Tynwald.

‘Public Health is now working with departments and boards to put together a detailed implementation plan for the actions outlined in the strategy, to be laid before October Tynwald.

‘Public Health has been working on a suicide prevention policy for several years, and this strategy is the formalisation and further development of work that has been ongoing for some time.

‘The impact of suicides on our small community cannot be underestimated, but we are committed to the long term goal of reducing the number of suicides and ensuring that the right support is available at the right time for anyone who needs it.’

For those impacted, you can contact Samaritans on 116123 or the IoM Crisis Team on 642860.

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Impoving mental health support

By Reporter Rebecca Brahde speaks to consultant Juan Moore about mental health and his work in the area  

Tuesday 22nd August 2023 11:55 am

LINK:    Juan Moore speaks out about mental health in a bid to raise awareness | iomtoday.co.im

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