TWO women who battled mental health difficulties have been recognised for supporting other sufferers.

Julie Field and Liz Pierpoint, both trainers at East Oxford’s Restore charity, were shortlisted for a national Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England Award.

The pair travelled to the House of Commons last Wednesday for the fifth annual celebration, which praises training which helps people in distress.

Mother-of-three Ms Field, of Watlington, walked home as winner in the Standard category.

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The 46-year-old said: “I was totally shocked. I was absolutely gobsmacked. I was not expecting it at all.”

Ms Field, who started working at Restore in September 2013, said she was inspired to take up the role after using the charity’s coaching service.

She said staff supported her with one-to-one employment training to get her back into work after spending three years on an intensive therapy session with Oxfordshire Complex Needs Service to overcome mental health difficulties.

The former pre-school class leader said: “When you leave therapy, I think, people forget that your support is gone. That’s been your everything for years.

“It’s because of Restore I’m here now. I could have gone the other way, I could have easily slipped backwards.”

Along with Ms Pierpoint, Ms Field delivers 12-hour training courses, accredited by the MHFA, to adults across the county to better prepare them for supporting people in crisis.

Ms Field said it was important to equip people of all ages with the skills needed to provide initial support to people diagnosed with mental health difficulties.

She added: “It tackles the stigma and discrimination around mental health. I’m living proof that people recover and are likely to recover.”

Mother-of-three Ms Pierpoint volunteered at Restore for two years before delivering the training sessions in September 2014.

The 45-year-old from Didcot said: “Because of my own experiences it makes me feel like I can use them to benefit others.

“It gives me the opportunity to give something back in the sense of trying to address the stigma that’s around mental health, and I think that’s important.”

Since launching the course in 2008, Restore, based in Manzil Way, has trained 1,373 people in mental health first aid.