Helen Lewis has joined Railway Mission as the Railway and British Transport Police Chaplain for South and Mid-Wales.
She joins the railway industry as an experienced chaplain, having first gained experience as an outreach worker within schools and as a chaplain with Welsh Netball; being a chaplain to both the Wales senior national squad and the Celtic Dragons Super League team.
As a chaplain Helen knows that her past experiences with poor mental health could be of benefit in understanding the issues that others might be struggling with.
“It was as part of this role [with Welsh Netball] that I became aware of Mental Health First Aid training,” said Helen. Soon she trained as an instructor and set up a small training business with a vision to see at least one Mental Health First Aider in every church in Wales, which she has been working towards, training people across Wales in Mental Health First Aid.
Now Helen has taken on the role of Railway Mission chaplain for three days a week, allowing her the opportunity to continue training people to be Mental Health First Aiders, while still practising the skills and knowhow she has gained over the years.
One of the biggest issues the railway industry faces is that of fatalities on the railway. On average around 270 people a year lose their lives on the network in a deliberate act with others being left with life-changing injuries. Railway Mission chaplains offer support to the rail staff involved in such incidents, and to members of the public that are also affected and referred by British Transport Police.
Railway Mission was founded in 1881 to provide pastoral care and support for railway staff, one hundred and forty years later, the charity is still supporting the railway community through a dedicated team of railway chaplains. From the North of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall, from the Welsh coast to the Humber, chaplains provide a valuable, proactive support network for the railway industry.
To find out more about the work of Railway Mission visit railwaymission.org