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57. Coping With Transition through Understanding

How do transitions affect our mental health?

Today’s podcast episode is with Nick Wilson, a speaker on mental health, resilience and change. Nick talks on a range of topics surrounding mental health in the workplace, including resilience and impact of change and transition.

Having served 14 years in the Army, including deployments on several Operational Tours in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, Nick speaks about his experiences with depression and PTSD and the difficulties of transitioning from the military back into society.

Also discussed:

(1:22) Introduction to the episode

(2:46) Nick’s introduction

(6:54) The concept of ongoing mental health rather than crisis intervention, Mental Health First Aid, how the concept of suicide has changed from that of purely a crisis point to the everyday representation

(11:55) Nick’s sense of ‘purpose’ behind his work and his reasoning/purpose for joining the army

(14:46) Nick’s perception of wellbeing and self-care whilst being in the army, lack of training around mindset/wellbeing and mental resilience, the issues with approaching mental health & wellbeing in the army due to the hierarchy

(20:19) How it was for Nick starting in the army beginning in Northern Ireland, experiences of what he saw *WARNING: includes detail of seeing bodies for the first time*

(29:24) Afghanistan & Iraq and the differences in how graphic the violence was, how specific memories stick, how different it was to what people expect in war

(38:28) The debrief process and the practicality of it, rather than the mental side of it, the mentality of ‘manning up’

(44:23) Implementing actual change within the entire hierarchy,

(47:25) PTSD, how Nick first experienced/recognised it, the stigma of acknowledging it, how people didn’t notice the signs

(56:02) Suicide attempt, how reducing people’s options can often lead them to suicide, the response post-suicide attempt, implementing self-care and acknowledging our capacity to cope

(1:03:00) Where Nick was mentally, including selling his business and the uncertainty of what to do next, integrating veterans back into society and how they often face barriers in employment despite having extensive training in valuable skills

(1:15:13) How the extensive training in other skills is in stark contrast to the lack of training about mental health/wellness, the difficulties of preparing for civilian life, the career/job distinction, support systems

(1:24:04) The difficulties of transitioning into civilian life without assistance in combination with isolation and judgement, feeling invisible, transferable skills and being overlooked due to being a veteran even with relevant skills

(1:35:11) Identifying who you are now & knowing your priorities, adapting in business/life

(1:39:05) What Nick is doing currently, including empowering individuals to manage their own mental wellbeing, understanding who you are and how to achieve goals you set

(1:47:43) Setting small goals to give yourself a boost, the process of understanding who you are now, identifying your options, support networks

(1:57:37) Closing comments, where to find Nick


Nick’s LinkedIn:

Talk Mental Health LinkedIn:

Welcome to Dark Coffee, the podcast that starts engaging and approachable conversations around mental health.

Join wellbeing advocate Alice Lyons as she attempts to normalise the conversation around mental health, from suicide to satisfaction and everything in between.

Dark Coffee aims to create a safe space to explore dark topics with curiosity, compassion and courage to empower people to build their mental strength, resilience and sense of connection.

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Suicide and Emotional Support Organisations – UK

Samaritans: Confidential suicide discussion and emotional support. Free helpline available round the clock. Text – 116123.  Call – 08457 909090  Email – Website –

Mind: Support and information for anyone suffering from a mental health issue. 0300 123 3393 Website –

Saneline: Practical information, crisis care and emotional support to people affected by mental health concerns. Helpline: 0845 767 8000, open daily from 6pm – 11pm.