Cheryl Woodall is a nurse, working at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, in forensic settings with young people. She also has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Cheryl took part in our training film.

I wanted to get involved in this project as a nurse and user of mental health services. I want to highlight that any one of us can suffer from mental health issues and that we all have a very individual journey. It's OK to be that individual - we all experience emotions and 1 in 4 of us experience mental health problems.

It saddens me that in 2016, we as professionals are still not getting it right on this issue. Consequently, it highlights the ongoing work of awareness, education and training that professionals need to improve the delivery of therapeutic services.

When talking about the work I’ve been doing, the response I’ve had has been overwhelming and in fact, unexpected. I find the more I talk about the project and my individual journey, the more conversations I am having. This has involved professionals divulging their own experiences and seeking further information on the project. Other mental health professionals are surprised that we are still getting it wrong.

My involvement in this work has reminded me of the vulnerability of individuals and the importance of delivering care, which must include:

  • focussing on the individual 
  • listening to the individual 
  • understanding that they are the experts on how they feel
  • their journey is individual to them

As a nurse I must promote and educate others within an internal and external field to ensure that we do get it right and stigma and discrimination as an obstacle is removed.

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