Recent writing: struggling nurses, and Mental Health Act reform

I’ve written a couple of pieces in July that really highlighted for me the scale of the crisis currently facing our health and social care services. After news broke that there are now more nurses and midwives leaving the profession than joining, I spoke to some young women who are really feeling the pinch at the frontline of our health service.

When I think of the nurses who washed me, fed me, and sympathised with my hysterical late night sobbing back in January, I know I could never, ever do what they do. It’s heartbreaking to think that so many of them are valiantly working thankless 13 hour shifts, but still having to depend on extra jobs, and even food banks, to get by. Thank you and huge respect to all the nurses who spoke to me so candidly about their experiences – you are amazing.

Thanks also to the Approved Mental Health Practitioners (AMHPs) who spoke to me, for Mental Health Today, about the legislative and financial pressure they’re under when it comes to implementing the 1983 Mental Health Act. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the need for a wide ranging review and reform of the Act – but social workers and AMHPs told me that no amount of tinkering with the law will help unless the government also provides the funding and resources to ensure mental health patients get the help and support they need.

Meet The Young Nurses Who Need A Side Hustle Just To Pay Their Bills – for The Debrief:

‘I worked as a paediatric specialist nurse in a children’s hospice, but after having children of my own, I simply couldn’t afford to support my family on a nursing salary,’ says 27-year-old Naomi. ‘I now run a Botox and filler clinic, earning almost ten times as much each year. ‘

Naomi is one of thousands of nurses to have left the NHS in recent years, according to worrying figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which show there are now more nurses and midwives quitting than joining the profession. And she’s certainly not alone in feeling the pinch.

‘We really do live on the edge of comfort when it comes to money. I’ve noticed a lot of nurses take on little things on the side, like selling beauty products,’ says 22-year-old Hannah*, who’s been a nurse for just over a year.

Continue reading at The Debrief…

The 1983 Mental Health Act: what needs to change? – for Mental Health Today:

Mental Health Act

In May this year the prime minister made a pre-election pledge to revolutionise mental healthcare. What has happened since? What’s going wrong, and what needs to change?

Promising to rip up the 1983 Mental Health Act, Theresa May said she would: “introduce in its place a new law which finally confronts the discrimination and unnecessary detention that takes place too often.”

Detentions under the Mental Health Act have increased 47% over the last decade, and BME patients – particularly young, black men – are disproportionately detained under the Act.

There’s a fairly broad consensus across the mental health sector that the system isn’t working as it should. But the issue of just what to do about the Mental Health Act is more complex – and many professionals were angered by Mrs May’s comments.

Continue reading at Mental Health Today…


Please note that I am NOT a psychologist or healthcare professional. If you are struggling with mental health problems, contact Mind on 0300 123 3393 or Rethink Mental Health on 0300 5000 927. In a crisis, call the free, 24/7 Samaritans helpline on 116 123.

However, if you would like to get in touch about your own experiences, or a story that you’re keen to tell, please feel free to drop me an email.

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