Guest Blog - Mental Health Awareness Week

18 May 2020

This Mental Health Awareness Week the national theme, chosen by the Mental Health Foundation, is “Kindness”. We would like to share the experience of one of our clinicians, who wanted to share their own personal experience of the kindness offered by mental health services and their colleagues. 

I work at CWP as a clinician and have my own, very personal experience, of Kindness during Mental Health Awareness Week.  As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded my family, like many others, have needed to learn to adjust to the new normal of living with restrictions. 

However, our lockdown has felt very different for reasons not linked with COVID-19.  Since early 2020, our son has displayed repeated cycles of being very acutely unwell with mental health symptoms. These have had a debilitating impact on his mental and physical health.  

As our son’s mental health worsened, we struggled as parents to comprehend how we could help him, often feeling helpless. In this emerging journey we have needed to make decisions that have felt very difficult at times. Throughout this, we have felt kindness displayed to us as a family continually, and I have equally felt this as a member of staff at CWP. 

Our story starts with the Young Persons advice line, a shining light of constant kindness and late-night listening during tough times. Following this, we then saw kindness in abundance from the Accident and Emergency team at The Countess of Chester. Their clinicians gently guided a very frightened young adolescent and his parents into the care of the liaison team with such sensitivity. 

A seamless transition into the care of the Home Treatment Team followed. They reached out to my son, and us as a family, during some very bumpy times. They were fabulous and kind.  Mary, the Home Treatment Team Nurse, is someone I remember most fondly. She encouraged us all to voice positive affirmations at the end of her home assessment to our son, so he felt surrounded by emotional padding. 

Our 16-19 Consultant was a constantly kind, checking in with us as a family multiple times a day at times during difficult days and always asking how we are doing as parents.   

To be able to carry on working amidst this personal storm has been hugely helpful but equally difficult at times due to the changeable nature of his symptoms and uncertainty.  I have been supported and cared for with such kindness and empathy by my managers and colleagues, from 24 hour access to my managers personal phone, to flowers, chocolates and continued sensitive messages of support when I have found the situation difficult and overwhelming. 

For me, this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week resonates acutely with our family. I feel so fortunate that my son has access to such kind professionals, guiding us along this uncertain road and aiming for the best outcomes for him. 

Equally my job is such an essential part of who I am. I feel very grateful to have the constant kindness and understanding and flexibility. My leaders’ support has enabled me to feel stronger to cope with the uncertainty we are facing at home.  Thank you to all the clinicians and teams and to my managers and colleagues for your never-ending kindness, it means more than you can know.

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