Former Army officer transforms life after mental health crisis
Personal experiences inspire new career in mental health nursing
A former Army bomb disposal expert is celebrating beginning a new career as a mental health nurse after overcoming his own mental health traumas.
Adrian Craddock graduated from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) this week after spending the last four years training to become a mental health nurse.
It was a huge change for the 55-year-old after he spent 30 years in the British Army working in a dangerous and high pressured role as a counter terrorist bomb disposal expert in some of the most hostile places in the world, including Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland during The Troubles.
Adrian was medically discharged from the Army in 2014 with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTDS) and consequently suffered a severe mental health crisis where he attempted to take his own life.
"I’d almost say it was my destiny to become a mental health nurse. I was at my lowest point when I was sectioned and met a nurse who transformed my life."— Mental health nursing graduate Adrian Craddock
Adrian, who lives with his family in Warrington, said: “I’d almost say it was my destiny to become a mental health nurse. I was at my lowest point when I was sectioned and met a nurse who transformed my life. She helped me to reflect and realise that I can use my own experiences to help others in mental health crisis.”
Since finishing his studies in March, Adrian has worked at the Royal Albert Infirmary in Wigan in the mental health liaison team based in A&E and is now moving into the older people palliative care team at Richmond House Care Home in Leigh.
“I’ve worked with all kinds of different people and in this job life experience counts for a lot” he said. “You see people in despair and anguish so it’s challenging but also very rewarding.”
"I've worked with all kinds of different people and in this job life experience counts for a lot."— Mental health nursing graduate Adrian Craddock
Adrian admits that going to university in his 50s was initially daunting but soon found he enjoyed academia.
“It had its challenges. It felt like going back to school at first and I initially looked forward to the day when my academic studies were complete. However, when I finished my course in March, I realised I missed it and now I’ve applied to study for a Masters degree in philosophy and mental health.”
He added: “Graduation was exciting and a reward for all my hard work. It’s also nice for my family and friends to see me celebrate this moment as they’ve supported me through my studies and a very intensive military career.
“Retirement just didn’t work for me and I’ve relished this new chapter in my life. If I can change careers at my age then anyone can.”