"My First Visit to Rosewood Involvement Centre"
About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health (inpatient) Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Adult mental health (inpatient) NG3 6AA
Posted by Leica Man (as ),
Today was my first visit to the Rosewood Involvement Centre in Ollerton. The Centre’s aim is to give patients a voice on how mental health services in Nottinghamshire can be improved. Rosewood is about supporting and encouraging mental health service users, carers and volunteers to achieve personal goals and be part of decisions at every level within Nottinghamshire Healthcare.
My story is one of Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression). For the last two years I have been a roller coaster of a ride. My mental illness was triggered by sexual abuse as a child, relentless bullying at school, and mental and spiritual abuse later in adult life. I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar in March 2012 after a lifetime of depressive and hypomanic cycling. I was assigned to a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) and a Psychiatrist at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop. Over the course of two years I’ve had talk therapy with my CPN, while my Psychiatrist has helped me find the right medication to treat my illness.
I will always have Bipolar Disorder, and I still swing between low and high periods, but thanks to the support I've received from my CPN and Psychiatrist it’s no longer debilitating. My medication, a mix of anti-depressants and anti-psychotic mood stabilisers means that I am now fairly “stable”. My CPN has even been talking about discharging me as a service user which is something I couldn't have imagined a couple of years ago. She also suggested that I visit the Rosewood Involvement Centre as the next stage in my recovery.
I didn’t know what to expect at Roseweood, but upon arrival I received a really warm welcome. I met lots of friendly and interesting people — staff, volunteers, carers and fellow service users. Everyone made me feel at home. There was lots going on — one guy was playing the keyboard and singing, there was a guest speaker, some of the ladies had arranged a buffet. I met people with Bipolar, like myself, others with Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder and other mental health issues. The one thing they all had in common, in addition to their illnesses, was their friendly and supportive natures. Everyone seemed to have something to share, an interesting story, a creative talent, a hearing ear. The title “Involvement Centre” is spot on.
It was explained to me that Rosewood is not a “Day Centre”. It’s a hub for people with experience of mental health issues to get involved, to make a difference, to give something back. The Centre has been open for five years and has attracted volunteers, carers and service users from a wide variety of backgrounds. It really is a melting pot of knowledge and first-hand experience, but more than that, it’s a place full of people who want to “give back”. In addition to supporting each other, the Centre also provides a range of invaluable services. One of these services is “The Story Shop” where people who suffer from Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Depression and Psychosis make themselves available as speakers to business, schools, colleges and universities in an effort to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma that is often associated with mental health issues.
The Rosewood Centre’s “Involvement” scheme is about listening to people who use NHS mental health services, and getting carers, service users and volunteers working in partnership to influence decision making at every level within Nottinghamshire Healthcare. I experienced a taste of what “involvement” entails a week or two ago when I was invited to attend a meeting with members from the NHS Commissioning Team. As those responsible for improving NHS mental health services, they were interested in hearing from myself and other service users. Our observations and suggestions were then fed back to those in a position to make real change. The Rosewood Centre also operates an “interview panel” where patients are used to interview people applying for jobs within NHS Mental Health. It’s a case of service users having a real and positive impact on who gets the jobs as mental health carers.
Whether it’s serving on an interview panel, auditing a mental health ward, public speaking with “The Story Shop”, or simply being on hand to support other services users, there is so much to do at Rosewood. I’m looking forward to my next visit when I hope to better understand how everything works and how I might get involved.