"Leaving the Trust"

(as a staff member),

After almost 24 years of working for statutory mental health services I have witnessed changes within the organisation that is now Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust; and hope that the future will bring even greater change for the betterment of the people that access the Trust's services.

I can remember when I first started working for the mental health service, at Mapperley Hospital (a former Victorian Asylum) there appeared to be little in the way of hope for the people that frequented its wards. The wards were mostly quite gloomy with big heavy doors that had locks that were so big that the key wouldn't easily fit into your pocket. Obviously the new build out at Highbury is far more modern with lovely en-suite rooms instead of the old dormitories and a nice airy restaurant.

Although I don't really agree with mental health units that are set aside from other health facilities; Highbury is a vast improvement on the old Victorian wards. My concern however is that we might promote stigma towards mental health difficulties because of the almost mystique that segregated healthcare represents.

Social inclusion and recovery are more evident these days; mostly this comes down to some of the excellent workers that support people with mental health difficulties, often in very pressured arenas. Recovery and social inclusion must remain person-centred and embrace the needs of the individual and not be purely for the self-promotion of individuals, organisations or research/evidence bases.

On the whole I have enjoyed working within statutory mental health services and have learnt an awful lot in this time. I have also had the opportunity to improve my education supported by the Trust; I fully qualified as a teacher, achieved the masters degree in education and then went on to study mental health related topics; achieving the post grad diploma in psychosocial interventions and more recently achieved a first class degree in health and social care (mental health practice).

What has given me the greatest joy however is the achievements of the patients/clients/service users or rather the human beings that I have had the privilege of supporting. I celebrate the fact that human warmth goes a long way in promoting recovery and wellness. Watching people who in the past have been written off because of a diagnosis turn their lives around has always been the most rewarding part of the job.

Knowing I have been able to make a difference will always be the part I will remember about working within statutory services. I have experienced some really difficult times and have been treated unfairly on occasions; but I will leave this behind in the knowledge that the perpetrators may not ever be able to experience the same depth of feeling in witnessing the realities of true recovery.

In leaving I have decided to work with a business partner and move the opportunities that I currently support (in the Trust) into the voluntary sector. I am really quite excited about this and will put my all into the development of the organisation hoping to be able to continue to make a difference albeit on a voluntary basis. The new company is Nottingham Focus on Wellbeing http: //nottinghamfocusonwellbeing. btck. co. uk. I am grateful that the Trust is able to support us by referring people to our service.

In closing I have had the pleasure of being supported in these last few weeks by Jane Marlow (service manager Adult Mental Health). Jane has demonstrated a human-side to management that has made moving on an awful lot easier. I am also grateful to my clinical and managerial supervisor Steve Behan.


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