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Supporting mental health – an update to Jamie’s story

About a year ago we posted about one of our employees, Jamie Batt, who developed an eating disorder and became so ill that he was only days from death. Jamie recovered with treatment and support and started back at Diespeker in May 2019, initially for two days a week before getting back to full time. This is his update – read to the end for the latest, brilliant news!

“When I came back, working two days a week lasted all of two weeks, because I felt so comfortable and eager to keep going, the days off ended up feeling strange! The first few days I was back in the yard, I can’t explain the emotion I felt inside about my homecoming.

The boys in the factory were second to none. Their support, kindness and thoughtfulness towards me, and their understanding of what I had been through, I just can’t find words to describe it. They made me feel like I never left. The first morning back I remember well, very daunting, a lot of memories flooding back from before I became unwell and was still working trying to get by. By the afternoon all that feeling had gone! Although I had been there many years before I wanted to start afresh, like anyone coming into the firm. Before I left, I had been using the saw for cutting the materials. When I came back, I started just doing a bit of labouring, keeping our showroom looking tidy and getting all the up to date samples available ready to send out.

Diespeker is such a family-run business, and I do want to make a personal thank you to John and my brother Dave. Dave has been at Diespeker throughout my illness but has once not been there for me. In hospital the first question I would always ask is ‘How’s work going at Diespeker?’ and he always kept me in touch so I never really felt out the loop. There was nothing but positive words about the company from him. I’m pleased to say his years of hard work and commitment to the firm have led him becoming foreman of the yard!

Dave doesn’t treat me more favourably to others in the yard – if anything he’s harder on me but that’s just because he wants the best out of me daily, which he knows I can do. After work hours we just return to our normal family relationship.

Personally for me coming from death’s door to today, now four years fully discharged from all mental health services, I can’t thank John and Diespeker enough for the belief shown in me before the illness, through all nine years of it and now, supporting me as an employee again. I’ve surprised myself with the progress I’ve made. I never thought I’d be able to go out, fitting kitchens and other projects; this is not all on my own doing but has happened through the support of factory workers, the other fitters and the office staff. From the boss, John and my brother Dave, the ladies in the office, accountant Nick, the boys in the yard – Mitch and Dave working expertly with terrazzo in the green hut, sawyers Simon and Paul, polishers Dan, Spencer and co – to site manager Bruno and all those great fixers completing our brilliant work. Each and every one has helped towards my positive mental health.

In fact, I’ve been the strongest I’ve ever been – and now even more as I am delighted to announce I’ve become a father for the very first time. Without the support I’ve had from family, from John and everyone at Diespeker I may never have been able to reach the highest heights of becoming a father to my son.”

A huge congratulations to Jamie on the birth of your son, from all of your family here at Diespeker. The beautiful pencil drawing was created by friend Christy, who Jamie met while ill in hospital.

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