Mental health service users help Salford students prepare for future

Two service users of a local health trust gave presentations to university students about the mental health support they’ve received.

Heathfield at SalfordNeil Scott, former service user, and Daniel Connally, current service user of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Rehabilitation and High Support Directorate (RHSD) spoke to a class of 60 first year occupational therapy students at The University of Salford.

Neil and Daniel shared their experiences with the group about living at Heathfield House, an RHSD unit based in Stockport. 

They covered topics such as living with a mental illness, coping strategies and the importance of support from a team made up of different professionals.

Visits to the university are part of the RHSD’s focus on service user involvement into developing services and shaping their own care.

The talks also helped the students prepare for their upcoming placements and for their future as occupational therapy professionals.

Cathleen Liu, Senior Occupational Therapist at Pennine Care, said: “It’s instilled in our practise that we involve service users in their own recovery plan - this includes providing opportunities for them to develop new skills and confidence.

“The students gave positive feedback, saying that they felt inspired by Neil and Danny and that it helped to breakdown their assumptions and judgements on mental illness.

“One student said that she was very anxious about doing her first mental health placement, but now feels they have given her confidence to be able to embrace and learn with an open mind. 

“Another student said that it helped them learn that recovery is a realistic goal.”

Danny Connally said: “I have learnt many things on my journey and I’m at another stage – I’m grateful for opportunities like this to help keep an active life.

“The session made me feel good about myself and reassured the students not to be scared of people with mental illness.” 

Pennine Care’s RHSD provides low secure care for men and a range of step-down services for both men and women, along with a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit for men. 

For more information visit: www.penninecare.nhs.uk/rhsd