Tom initially approached X-Forces Enterprise through our Help for Heroes Business Experience programme. With an inspirational backstory and a determination to make his business succeed for the good of others, we helped Tom pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions and set up Thoughtify Ltd.
I have closely followed Tom’s journey since and we recently caught up on the fantastic growth Tom experienced last quarter.
Former Rifleman Tom Fox served in the British Army for 12 years. After some difficult experiences in the Army and upon leaving, Tom was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, Tom encountered various difficulties in obtaining the correct diagnosis thus receiving a lack of support when he needed it most. His experiences, however, encouraged him to set up Thoughtify Ltd to prevent others from facing a similar situation.
Thoughtify Ltd. provides mental health and wellbeing training to businesses encouraging them to safeguard employee mental health, understand the effect it has on employees and how to support those who may require additional support.
X-Forces Enterprise were able to support Tom in establishing Thoughtify Ltd. through enterprise training:
“The X-Forces Business course that I attended was very useful, as it introduced me to certain aspects of running a business that I wasn’t aware of and helped me to clarify others. This is a great course for anyone intending to start their own business.”
‘I know how debilitating mental illness can be. It ruined my career and changed my life. The really annoying thing is, I know now that with a little bit of prior education about mental health, either I or a colleague at work could have easily spotted the signs that I was unwell, and I could have got the right support to manage my illness at a much earlier stage. If that had happened I would never have got to the point where going to work became an impossibility.’
With a strong desire to raise awareness about supporting individuals through mental health issues, Tom received support from various military charities to help set up his business including SSAFA, The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and X-Forces Enterprise.
Tom acts as a representative across various forums to advocate on behalf of the Armed Forces community. He is a plenary speaker for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, an Ambassador for SSAFA and Combat Stress and a member of the NHS Armed Forces Mental Health Working Group. Tom was also featured by XFE Corporate partners Sage as an Invictus Games #Power50 business: http://www.sage.com/au/invictusgames#power50
74% of serving forces found Christmas particularly difficult compared to 58% of the general public. Source SSAFA
Thoughtify Ltd. were delighted to be invited to launch SSAFA’s Armed Forces at Christmas campaign. To raise awareness of some of the pressures which Armed Forces personnel face during this period, Tom provided an interview with Julie McCarthy, SSAFA’s Director of Volunteer Operations.
Tom is an also active member of the NHS Armed Forces Mental Health Working Group and the Public Patient Participation Involvement Group, both of which serve a key role in advising the NHS on how to provide specialist services for the Armed Forces community.
“There are some really, excellent changes being made with regards to long term health provision for serving and ex serving members of the armed forces and their families. Having both direct input plus the ability to provide guidance to the NHS and MOD decision making team will I hope help lead to better care and service in the future for all members of our Armed Forces Community.”
Tom will also be taking over the @NHS twitter account for Mental Health Awareness Week. As part of this, he will look at what mental health is, the stigma associated with it and getting help; body image and injured soldiers; mental health in the work place; PTSD and anxiety; and the impact on partners and families.
Thoughtify Ltd. also deliver mental health training to larger corporate businesses including a mental health presentation to senior managers at Virgin Atlantic Airways and they hope to cultivate this relationship further in the future:
“Tom delivered a fantastic presentation for us on self-awareness and mental health in the workplace. We had great feedback from our teams.”
They will also be delivering a MHFA training course for managers at MAERSK, the world’s largest shipping company, and have also delivered MHFA training for the board of Directors at En Route International, a large company operating in the aviation catering sector. Thoughtify are also associate trainers for the Defence Medical Welfare Service and will be delivering a series of MHFA courses for the NHS SW Ambulance Service on their behalf.
In the spirit of building new relationships, Thoughtify will also be holding their own open course at the Union Jack Club in London for a range of different businesses to reach as diverse an audience as possible. The feedback received by Thoughtify’s customers have consistently been excellent, praising the professional service they have received from Thoughtify. Clients have echoed how valuable employee mental health and wellbeing is for businesses:
“Mental Health Champions training should be rolled out to all managers in our organisation. This was a very thought provoking and informative course”, said a department head at MAERSK.
We asked Tom what we have to look forward to from Thoughtify over the next 9 months:
‘We have plenty of courses, interest and opportunities that will be keeping us busy over the next few months, and it all goes to prove that planning, determination, knowledge, integrity, and fortitude (qualities that are common to all forces personnel), are strengths that really pay off in the business world.”
As part of our ongoing XFE support for our beneficiaries we will be supporting Thoughtify through our various platforms to help share his message and make connections with other organisations through our Networking and Corporate Partner Programmes.
The XFE support extends well beyond the initial service, be that a Start-Up Loan or Enterprise Skills Workshop: all our beneficiaries receive ongoing support through Mentoring, Networking and a range of other support mechanisms to further empower them on their journey to successfully growing their start-ups.
In April 2019 we announced a programme called 3:6:12 which is focused on providing a communications channel through our network to promote and elevate current and future role-models who are inspirations for others. In particular, those who may have had to build up from reliance to resilience and want to share their stories with the community and XFE’s stakeholders, including our Big Business Supporting Small Business partners; Charity Sectors and Government. 3:6:12 means that we will follow their story 3months, 6months and 12months into their journey and create joint case-studies, blogs and thought leadership articles over a 12month period; providing additional momentum to their goals. The role-out of 3:6:12 has already started with the Soldiering On Awards, a brand of XFE, for the winners of the 13 categories.
‘’It is important that the good work, progress and success coming out of our armed forces community is shared far and wide. The media tends to focus mainly on issues and this is important but not at the expense of progress. It is critical in the world we live in today that society sees the amazing advancement that can, and is, being made by collaborating and providing opportunities through a constructive hands-up approach. Together with our beneficiaries and partners we can really make a difference to the distance travelled from reliance to resilience! Tom’s story demonstrates just that.’’
Ren Kapur MBE CEO X-Forces Enterprise and Co-Chair Soldiering on Awards.
To find out more about Thoughtify visit http://thoughtify.co.uk