Ascend spoke with Christo Hudson of The Black Box Approach about his work;

“Until March 2020, I was a regional commercial pilot and part of my role as a training captain was as an aircraft incident investigator. My job was to look at events and trends from data received from the aircraft’s “black boxes”. I looked at why pilots were perhaps operating the aircraft outside of the usual parameters, and it was just natural for me always to start the conversation with “how are you?”. The question usually prompted a flowing and personal narrative of what was actually going on behind the flight deck door. Just as the data analysis allowed me to unlock the black box’s internals, a simple, open question gave me an insight into why pilots were behaving in a certain way. In establishing these relationships and taking the time to really listen, I found that there was always more to it; crew suffering from anxiety, financial worries, fatigue or relationship problems. The majority of interviews ended with me giving crews a hug rather than the disciplinary that they were expecting!

Following my redundancy, I trained as a peer support volunteer and qualified as a suicide prevention and mental health first aid trainer. Naturally, I have always been inquisitive, trying to help people find solutions to their problems, but I have found that people do not always need answers; they just need to be listened to and be heard. I deliver the training to encourage open communication, to fuel connections and offer a lifeline to those in trouble.

As Suicide Prevention and Mental Health First Aid trainer, I teach people how to engage on an emotional level and connect with those that may be struggling with their mental health. Based on years of research, our online, tutor-led courses will give you the skills and knowledge to help someone in their time of need. Whilst many come to learn how to help others, more often is the case that they also learn how to help themselves. By understanding the skills to approach a perhaps uncomfortable subject and listen to someone non-judgementally, we can show them hope. The courses will equip you with the tools to spot the signs of a range of mental health issues and guide a person to appropriate support. By providing people and organisations with these empowering skills, we can help start to end the stigma surrounding mental health.”


The Black Box Approach | Mental Health Training