Gateshead Health encourage workforce to chat mental health

Posted on Mon, 12/04/2021


Today marks the launch of the Trust’s ‘Share your story’ campaign, an initiative aimed at increasing and normalising discussion of mental health in the workplace. 

During the campaign, volunteers from across our teams will voluntarily share their experiences with wider the workforce through a series of items distributed through internal challenges.

In addition to opening up around some of the mental health challenges they have experienced, our team members will also detail the coping mechanisms, support and services which have been effective in helping them to manage their mental health. It is hoped that by doing so, we’ll also be able to generate more awareness of the different support tools available to our workforce.

It goes without saying that the last year in particular has been difficult for many. That is undoubtedly felt amongst the workforce here at Gateshead too, where per the Trust’s annual survey the overall feeling of health and wellbeing has fallen amongst those who have worked in Covid-19 wards/areas, as well as those who were redeployed to help the Trust cope with the intense pressures of the past 12 months.

And while as a Trust we are continuing to strive towards and invest in the provision of more effective support for our workforce, we also understand the importance of simply acknowledging the difficulties our people face – whether professionally or personally. Moreover, we see the correlation between positive staff health and wellbeing and quality of care.

First up to share their story is Community Palliative Care Nurse Specialist, Carol Moore, who discussed her struggles with anxiety and how she manages the more difficult times.

Sharing my story: Carol Moore   

"I was first absent with anxiety and depression during 2012 in a previous hospital post. At the time, I’d lost sight of the direction we were going in and I couldn’t see the philosophy or how I’d fit inThe sudden change and lack of belonging began to cause self-doubt.


"I began thinking that everything was my fault until one day it all got on top of me and I walked off the Ward where I had been reviewing a patient and didn’t return for 6 months. 


"Looking back, I don't know whether some of that was associated with menopausal stuff going on as well – because some of that has continued even despite changing roles, and reading up on menopause, anxiety can definitely be a part of it. 

"I felt trapped in what I was doing and even now working in Community, I do still sadly have my self-doubts. In difficult situations, my anxiety can be overwhelming even despite those around me being incredibly supportive. 


"I can become fixated around minor issues, and they can get on top of me, while I also sometimes struggle with doubt around all the things I used to do very well. Those thoughts can spiral and I can get to a point where I’ll try avoid that task altogether. 


In terms of how Carol tries to manage the challenges presented to her in her professional life resultant of the anxiety, she explains: “Ive had counselling previously, and I also take medication; a combination of anti-depressants and hormone replacement therapy. Things have generally been better since, though it can still sometimes be difficult to maintain good equilibrium at work.  


"To help with that and on a more day-to-day level, I also have a couple of diariesOne is a thankful diary, where if I’ve had a particularly down day I write four things I feel thankful for.  I also have a reflective diary where I write about what has happened over an eventful day, though I wouldn’t necessarily write about a ‘usual’ day in either diary. 


I want to highlight to others the importance of knowing your colleague. If I have a bad day maybe that’s all it is - I’m not sick and don’t need to go off’. I just need space and time. 


We'd like to thank Carol again her continued fantastic work in the community in addition to being the first to share her story as well as the coping mechanisms she employs. Carol, who is also a Health and Wellbeing Ambassador at the Trust, has also kindly agreed for her story to be published publicly for which we are extremely grateful.

Over the course of the next month, we'll continue to share stories and encourage more open discussion of mental health. If you'd like to get involved and help us build momentum in doing so, drop us a tweet @HWBGatesheadHe1, preferably with a picture of yourself, and tell us your story or spare a inspirational quote. Alternatively, you can also drop us a line and we'll share it for you!



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