I am co-founder and Chief Executive of STORM Skills Training Community Interest Company (CIC), and formerly Director of The STORM Project within the University of Manchester.
I gained 12-years Nursing experience in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities before moving into research at the University of Manchester in 1997. My research experience is predominantly focused on STORM and developing the Suicide Prevention, Self-harm Mitigation and Suicide Postvention skills training packages. I have also worked on other mental health related research studies in the community and in Prisons.
Between 2003-2012, I concentrated on building the STORM Project into a successful research focused not-for-private-profit business venture. Income from sales of STORM training funded research and further development of the programme. In 2012, STORM Skills Training CIC, Social Enterprise (limited by guarantee), was incorporated to build a sustainable social business that increased social impact across the UK and internationally.
STORM Training has been disseminated widely across the UK, Channel Isles, Republic of Ireland, Malta and Australia. Training has also been delivered in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Russia as part of STORM CIC's pro bono work. Frontline staff and volunteers in a wide range of organisations across all sectors delivering healthcare, social care, education, criminal justice, defence, veterans services as well as human resources and managers with mental health & wellbeing responsibility across the business community are benefiting from STORM training.
Surplus income is invested to fund STORM's Community Engagement Programmes, such as free-to-attend conferences, seminars, subsidised/pro bono workshops and the #HeyAreYouOK? campaign.
I am currently the UK representative for the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).
STORM's activities are deeply rooted in the community providing skills training to frontline staff and volunteers. STORM Skills Training CIC not only demonstrates how research can be translated and applied into practice using a business vehicle, but also how a Social Enterprise model can do business for social good.
The surplus income funds our Community Engagement Programme, including funding our pro bono and subsidised training and education workshops, free-to-attend conferences and seminars and the #HeyareyouOK? campaign.
The aim of the #HeyareyouOK? campaign is to promote a culture that teaches us to recognise distress and to talk about it openly and honestly; a culture that teaches us to ask for help without fear of being stigmatised; and a culture that teaches us that sometimes we need to reach out to those we think may be finding life difficult to cope with.