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Prestigious fellowship proves to be an ‘amazing opportunity’

PUBLISHED: 22:33 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 22:35 15 September 2018

Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan

Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan

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He was one of just eight people from East Anglia to have been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship this year.

Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod SullivanMental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan

And as the mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, is almost halfway through his six-week trip to the USA researching a global issue, he is keen to bring back his findings to the region as he aims to “try and help contribute to making Lowestoft the best place in the world for positive mental health.”

Mr Sullivan, who is working with a range of organisations to deliver a trauma-informed approach for Lowestoft, was selected from more than 1,000 applicants to study in America.

Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan

After completing just over two weeks of his fellowship, Mr Sullivan is set to dress as the former British prime minister Churchill in the coming days, while the American children have been comparing his accent to “Chef Ramsay.”

Mr Sullivan has been chosen to visit key cities in America – including Walla Walla in Washington – where mental health services are world renowned. Having travelled to, and met with a range of groups, organisations and schools in Boston, Washington State and Oregon, he is due to visit Maryland and California to study trauma informed approaches and bring back ideas, research and insights to the region.

Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan Mental health ambassador for Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, during his time in America. Pictures: Tod Sullivan

Mr Sullivan said: “Washington was an amazing opportunity to meet some really well connected people in the field and to understand how policy is made.

“I was in the Hart Senate Building on the same day as the Supreme Court Justice nomination confirmation hearings and so it was quite a busy atmosphere. I am hoping that I can influence MP’s to support us in raising awareness of childhood trauma and adversity, and to engage in trying to improve resilience in communities,” Mr Sullivan added.

“Arriving in Seattle I drove to Hillsboro County in Oregon and have had a remarkable week meeting some wonderful people. The schools here are working in a trauma informed way - which means that the teachers teach not only subjects but also emotional regulation. The impact has seen reductions in absences, issues in classes and other behavioural problems. Hillsboro is incredibly diverse, the schools all had unique demographics.”

Admitting it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Mr Sullivan said: “The people here could not have been more friendly and helpful, the children like the accent and I was compared to Chef Ramsay

“I’m getting ready to head to Walla Walla where I’ve been asked to dress as Churchill as part of a treasure hunt and am due to address the local council - some things never change,”

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