As a disclaimer, I’m writing this mid nights before I go to sleep, so if it doesn’t make sense or the grammar isn’t perfect, I’m tired, don’t hate me!
Anyone that knows or works with me will know my biggest passion in nursing isn’t so much nursing or patient care, but nurses themselves. Those selfless humans with huge, obligating hearts, I blooming love them. The aim of my career is to optimise staff well being and good mental health and support for nurses.
I’ve considered the occupational health route, but that doesn’t feel right for me, I do still love caring for patients and I could never leave emergency medicine. My ideal job would be 50% ED nurse and 50% a nurse that was present on the wards and in clinical areas checking in on other nurses, giving advice and guidance, sign posting, and basically talking about mental health to anyone that will listen, (let’s hope my boss is reading this!).
According to The Laura Hyde Foundation, rather worryingly, nearly 1 member of front line emergency services tries to take their own life everyday.
Anyone that has done a suicide prevention course will know that actually talking about suicide, saying the word, has so much power in the conversation. The same goes for talking about mental health.
Recently, I’d been bottling up for a few months that I was struggling. Not struggling, struggling, but I had some negative feelings that I wasn’t really processing, because in my mind someone else had it worse. For example, I’d been feeling really lonely, but I knew that some people were living on their own in the pandemic and I at least had my husband, so how could I complain? Work had been tough, but no where near as tough as my colleagues in London, so again, who am I to complain? I kept it in, not moaning, putting on my positive pants until one day, my new matron asked me how I was, that was it, the flood gates opened and suddenly in front of a near complete stranger I sobbed. Then, as I left her office and went back to work, it was obvious to everyone else that I’d been sobbing. As my work mates asked me how I was I explained, and I said I knew I was being stupid, but suddenly, people were agreeing with me. People empathised. I found out people we’re going through similar things, and we all were bottling it up. Since then I’ve had numerous walks and online chats with people and have felt a lot less lonely. All because I finally talked, and they also finally talked, and we all talked together and we all felt a bit better.
When someone sees me limping, (pesky plantar fasciitis), they ask me if I’m ok. If you see someone and they don’t seem their normal selves, then ask them if they’re ok. Talking about mental health shouldn’t be hard, and I’m going to make it my aim to make these conversations easier.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that today, on Time to Talk day, why don’t you start a conversation about mental health with someone? Ask someone how they are? Ask them twice, just to be sure. Ring someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Before you have an online meeting, spend 5 minutes checking in with each other, tell them a joke, give them a compliment. Anything that gets the ball rolling and allows people to open up and feel a little bit brighter. Try it, and make sure you let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear peoples stories before I go back to work tonight.