08 October 2020

Mental illness can create opportunities and positive outcomes, says former patient

 Mental Health

A former Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust patient who attempted to take his own life after a 'nervous breakdown' is sharing his story to highlight how his illness led to a key role in the co-production of services and treatment.

Will, who was admitted to one of the Trust's inpatient wards voluntarily in 2018, received therapy and treatment, before being discharged into the care of the Intensive Support Team, where he was supported on his journey towards recovery.

For World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10th October) Will has recorded his story to thank staff in the Trust for their support in his recovery and explains how his experience has led to him to get involved in the shaping and development of mental health services and treatment.

Will said: "I owe AWP a debt of gratitude, for actively saving my life. I was in a very bad place and I had let my symptoms continue without getting help for much longer than I should have. Being admitted to a mental health inpatient ward was difficult, but it was the right thing to do. I received a range of support, treatment and therapy and when I left I felt strong enough to continue my recovery with the support of the community teams."

As part of his recovery Will volunteered on the ward where he was an inpatient helping an Occupational Therapist run group sessions. More recently he has been involved in co-production and involvement opportunities across the Trust and he is currently the chair of the Trust's Strategic Expert by Experience Strategic Group (SEG) which works to drive co-production forward within the Trust.

He said: "Being able to take part in ambassadorial work across the Trust for co-production and to provide an assurance and influential role in co-production is fantastic. Even more so is the enthusiasm that the staff, managers and teams we work with show in wanting to work with us, which is testament to AWP's values as an organisation and also to the sheer character of the people who work for it. They are considerate, professional, empathetic and above all caring."

Julie Kerry, Director of Nursing and Quality, for AWP, said: "Will is extremely brave to share his story and to talk openly about how his mental health has provided opportunities for him to assist the Trust. We are committed to further developing our patient-centred approach to our work so to be able to draw on Will's experience to shape our services is very valuable. We recognise that by working closely with those who use our services we can create better outcomes not only for them but for others with mental health conditions."

You can listen to Will's story in full here

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