Daniel’s battle leads to helping others

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A SHEFFIELD man who battled depression is forging a new career – helping people with mental health problems.

After a job in a shop affected his health, Daniel Brookes, aged 24, of Gleadless, became an apprentice with the city’s mental health trust, working at Forest Close, Oughtibridge.

Now he has a full-time position at the 44-bed unit, helping clients to live more independently and confidently. He takes them on trips to the cinema and shopping and is also currently taking one man in his 40s to the Burton Street Gym to increase his fitness and overall wellbeing.

Daniel suffered depression in 2006. “I worked at a golf shop when I was a 17 but I was verbally bullied. It made me feel deeply depressed and I really didn’t want to go to work. One day I ended up crying in the middle of the shop floor because someone said something that really hurt me.

“I realised then that the job was not right for me and I went to see a doctor who referred me for treatment and counselling. My experience with depression gives me an insight and empathy for what the people I work with are going through.”

Daniel had completed a sports qualification at Norton College, going on to work in retail, which he found unchallenging and unfulfilling. His apprenticeship as an occupational therapy assistant was with Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Trust.

During National Apprenticeship Week, he said: “I would definitely encourage other people to take up an apprenticeship as it’s been a fantastic experience for me and has really helped boost my confidence.

“It’s also a great way to try out a potential career.”