Matthew Holman had 20 years’ experience working in the corporate sector. One day, he recalls a ‘moment of impact’, amid a mental health challenge. He felt that he could not be honest with who he was. He realised that something needed to change. He was not unbreakable, only human. This led him to leave the corporate world behind.
Not long after, Matthew was approached by friends, who were working on a wellbeing magazine, Happiful, to support with some projects. He soon became the publisher. Little did he know, this would be the defining moment for his future career path.
It was a conversation about Mental Health First Aid England’s courses, that led the company to sponsor him to do the Mental Health First Aid course. They then asked
him to start a wellbeing initiative at work. Matthew eventually trained to be an Instructor Member in 2018 and since then has trained over 2,000 people in mental health first aid skills and awareness.
He always opens his training with his own mental health challenges. He believes it
“breaks the barrier between the Instructor Member and the learners and allows them to feel comfortable to share. I am here to connect conversations about mental health and to make it accessible.”
In addition to his experience as an MHFA England Instructor Member, Matthew has been a Samaritan listening volunteer for 7 years. His first year coincided with his own personal mental health lived experiences.
When he left the corporate world, he made a commitment to himself to help others. It was this, that also made him realise that he also needed to look after himself. Just as we are taught to do in an emergency on an aeroplane.
In 2019, he delivered a TEDx talk ’24 Hour Human’, which focused on his experience with poor mental health in the workplace. He now runs his own company, Simpila, which focuses on promoting healthy wellbeing for employers.
He also has a podcast ‘Matt Holman talks Mental Health’, launched in November 2020. There are already 129 episodes which provide a platform for amazing humans to talk about their own personal journeys with mental health.
He is inspired by his daughter who currently struggles with serious mental ill health. “She teaches me so much passion and purpose, and for that, I am grateful.” Matthew leaves us with this final food for thought, “I can only work with today; I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But today, I can do good things, take care of myself and help people.”