Heather Watts-Brooke

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I now have the care plan and the coping strategies in place to look forward to my future

Heather Watts-Brooke,
Service User

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Heather's Story

My nurse has a great personality, we have a laugh and I feel safe. Having someone there, who will speak to me non-judgmentally, means so much. My psychiatrist is great, he listens to me. He trusts my judgment and I trust him. We work together.

In the future I would like to become a nurse in an inpatient facility working with high-risk patients. I want to give something back.

I started suffering from anxiety and depression in my mid-teens. I began self-harming and had suicidal thoughts and was eventually referred to CAMHS. I was diagnosed with a condition called emerging emotionally unstable personality disorder. Over time my self-harming led me to A&E and that’s when the i2i crisis team stepped in. I saw a psychiatrist, but there were a lot of staff changes in the team, which I found difficult, as I was feeling very vulnerable. In the end I was admitted to inpatient care for six months.

I was very anxious about leaving the security of inpatient care. My new nurse suggested we first of all meet for a coffee to get to know one another. This was exactly what I needed. I find it hard to trust people and she wanted to get to know me as a person, not a patient. As a result, I felt I could open up to her. Since then I’ve been under the care of a new psychiatrist and my nurse. I was frustrated because previously there was no focus to my therapy. Now I have continuity of care and I have just started DBT, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, which I am excited about.

Working together

About two months ago I started volunteering for Sussex Partnership, through the ACE scheme. I am invited to give my perspective on aspects of care, such as the transition protocols from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health services and also staff interviews. The Trust is listening to me and it’s been a great experience. Lots of patients and carers are involved in ACE. Things have improved a lot because of it.

I now have the care plan and the coping strategies in place to look forward to my future. I have just done a skydive and raised £1,100 for charity. I volunteer at a hospital and with CAMHS.