A FORMER Army officer from Padgate who has been battling with PTSD, has turned his life around to help others suffering with mental health.

Inspirational veteran, Adrian Craddock, has recently graduated from University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) having studied for four years to be a mental health nurse – something he says he was ‘destined’ to be.

The 55-year-old spent 30 years serving his country in The Army working in a dangerous and high-pressured role as a counter terror bomb disposal expert.

He worked in some of the most hostile places in the world, including Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland during The Troubles.

After being medically discharged from The Army back in 2014 due to his diagnosis of PTSD, Adrian found himself in a severe mental health crisis and attempted to take his own life.

Speaking on his experiences that led to this point he 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.”

The Padgate Lane resident also highlighted how daunting it was to attend universities in his 50s and embarking on a brand-new career.

“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 master’s degree in philosophy and mental health.”

Since completing his studies this March, he has delved straight into working life once again, working at Royal Albert Infirmary in Wigan in the mental health liaison team based in the A&E department.

He will soon move to 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.

“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.”