It’s mental health awareness week and what a great time to shine the spotlight on some of the exceptional mental health professionals who we work with at Search Health and Social Care. We caught up with them to find out more about working in mental health today.
About our colleagues
Donna is a community psychiatric nurse/ A&E liaison nurse, working alongside other professionals to support service users who are presenting with mental health issues. Working in the community she checks in on her caseload, referred to her with people accessing accident and Emergency services with psychiatric support needs.
Tyrece is a registered mental health nurse who works in independent mental health hospitals across the North West. Mainly working on secure wards, he specialises in the clinical support of people with personality disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis.
Maria is a mental health support worker, working intensively to support people on a one to one basis. Based within hospitals and community environments, she safeguards incredibly vulnerable individuals with patience, empathy and understanding, all the while closely monitoring the mental state of those in her care.
Jonathan is a family support worker who spends his time supporting the families of those affected by mental health. Working towards common goals, Jonathan provides support to ensure that the destructive effects of mental health on loved ones are minimised by creating a positive environment with the necessary safeguards, advice and guidance in place.
How do you support people in your role working in mental health?
Donna: As a community psychiatric nurse, I build trusting relationships, helping people adhere to treatment plans, offering advice on therapies and lifestyle choices that support and encourage good mental health.
Maria: I provide support by being respectful, compassionate and empathetic peoples’ feelings. You need to be a good listener, be responsive and make eye contact and have a caring approach.
Jonathan: I work with clients with different mental health needs such as anxiety, schizophrenic tendencies, or clients who are unable to engage. For example, there are parents out there who are too scared to go to food banks. In these cases I act as the middle man by going out and collecting the food for them. I help them to understand and cope with their situation by boosting their self-esteem and helping them to think positively.
I encourage them to take their medication and understand why they need to do so. I can only suggest and advise them and help them with breathing techniques to manage their anxiety.
Tyrece: Listening to their troubles and empowering them by actively supporting them with their agreed care plan.
What motivated you to work in mental health?
Donna: I had my own personal family experiences and saw first hand how they were treated by society for having mental health problems.
“When I qualified as a Registered Mental Nurse, people with mental health issues were seen as different, not taken seriously and not given empathy as they are today. I was determined to make a difference and change the stigma that surrounds mental health.”
Maria: I get satisfaction from taking care of people, especially those who are vulnerable and need support.It's also hugely rewarding knowing that I am making a difference to peoples' lives.
Jonathan: My motivation comes from a place of understanding that we are all human and we need to treat each other like so. I want to feel like I am making a difference and playing a role in protecting our vulnerable people.
Tyrece: I am motivated by the need to make a difference within a part of the healthcare system which remains stigmatised.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
Donna: My biggest challenge is client engagement. Building rapport and gaining trust can take time.
Maria: Not all patients with mental health needs will present violent or aggressive behaviour, but for me, when this happens it is the biggest challenge. There will be times when the need to restrain is the only option to keep yourself and the patient safe. Restraining can leave you and the patient feeling physically & emotionally drained.
Jonathan: Sometimes people can be too scared to engage. Fear stops them from getting the support they need. Some service-users struggle with tolerance and communication and are unable to listen and take on board advice. There are days when they do not want to listen; and when this happens, I liaise with the healthcare professionals who are involved in the individual’s care plan.
What is the biggest misconception about mental health?
Donna: Many people don’t see it as real nursing!
Maria: For me, the biggest misconception is that it is rare:
“Reality is 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem. Mental Health can and does affect anybody.”
Jonathan: Some individuals with mental health issues think that no one cares about them. This might be because of their experiences with people who haven’t shown them the care and support that they need. We must then let them know they are important and worth it. Service users can be friendly and caring people who, deep down, really want to get better and feel included.
Tyrece: A significant amount of people believe mental health is only about people who have a diagnosis such as schizophrenia. It’s much broader. Many do not even associate stress with mental health illness.
Why do you love working in mental health?
Donna: Seeing a patient return to optimal health, be discharged and leave our service fit and well is why we do our job. It’s just as rewarding as it is for any nurse when they send their patients home.
Maria: Every day is different. The sense of job satisfaction when you see a patient recover and move on is extremely rewarding.
Tyrece: I work alongside lots of people who like me, are passionate and prepared to help make a change to the lives of others in need.
Why is it so important to #bekind?
Donna: We are living in vulnerable times. Now more than ever, it’s important that we all play our part and be kind.
Maria: Mental Health could affect you or a member of your family at any time. It is important to always be kind. Think about how you would feel. How you would like to be treated.
"As a society, we need to show a better understanding and acceptance of mental health, educate ourselves, talk to each other. We must remove the ‘shame and stigma’ that surrounds it."
Jonathan: It is important to #bekind because it makes our service users feel valued. They feel like there is someone there who understands them, who loves them, who is empathising with them. They understand that all is not lost, that they should not give up.
"Kindness needs not be important. It should be a trait in everyone. Without kindness, there is no compassion."
Are you looking to pursue a career in mental health? If so, then browse our current mental health jobs now. Whether you are a support worker looking for a new challenge or a qualified RMN looking for their next opportunity, we can help. Contact us today.