I joined Sussex Partnership four years ago and so much has changed in that time. When I joined I was thrown in at the deep end and needed more support. I took part in a focus group later on and spoke about my induction experience. I’m happy to say that everything has changed now. A welcome pack has been created and I was asked to go over it and give my feedback. I’ve been listened to and they took on board every point I raised. Now when a new person joins, they shadow members of the team.
I was impressed when a senior manager came and worked for a day as a support worker. He didn’t shadow us, he insisted on being us. He wanted to experience what our jobs were really like. He had started out as a support worker, like me. I would like to build on my skills and experience in the future, for example to train as an OT Tech. I know my managers will be supportive of any plans I put forward.
It could happen to anyone
Some of our patients may have committed offences, but I don’t feel conflicted. It could happen to anyone, whoever you are, whatever your background, but if there is mental health support, people can turn their lives around. That’s how I feel about these women. The key to survival is support, and in this role I can be that support.
One success story will always stay with me. A young girl was admitted to us from prison who was psychotically disturbed and severely self-harming, unable to communicate and in a bad physical state. Her family sent us photos from a few months before she became unwell and it hurt us all to see the extent of her deterioration. In the beginning all we could do was care for her, attend to her physical needs while she started to heal. At Christmas time we took her some lunch and had ours with her, with crackers and all the trimmings. Finally she told us she was ready to come out on to the ward. In time she was able to return home. I’ll never forget her.
I love seeing the successes. Seeing people walk out of here for good is wonderful. When people leave us, I say to them, “in the nicest possible way, I don’t want to see you again”, because that will mean I did a good job.