A mother of three from Swansea has turned her battles around.
This week is mental health awareness week, and to mark it, we spoke to Kerry Flower-Fitzpatrick about how she turned her mental health struggles into helping others in Swansea.
Back in 2013, 41-year-old Kerry suffered with severe anxiety and depression and as a result was out of work for three and a half years. As anyone would, being out of work for that period of time, she was concerned about returning to employment and found she was probably not being taken on due to her absence in work previously, and needing that time off due to mental health problems.
Kerry now has a job as a Recruitment Services Advisor for NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, and wants other people experiencing mental ill health to know they can also 'turn their life around' like she has.
Here is a bit of information from Kerry herself, about what she is doing now:
“I currently act as Mental Health First Aider within my role at NHS Wales Shared services Partnership, Swansea. I help to signpost staff who may be struggling into getting the right support and how we can best support them as an employer. It has and is making a massive difference of people’s views where mental health is concerned, not just those who suffer but also it helps kill the stigma that still surrounds mental health today! The impact of this role has been very positive within our teams and is contributing to improving mental health awareness across the service."
She ended up in this role after deciding to seek help from Remploy, who, at the time, were advertising about helping people with mental health problems getting back in to work. She attended a Q&A session ran by Remploy, and NHS Shared services Wales were there, Kerry told them about her story and enquired about work experience. She was then offered a placement, to help her get back into a routine, and to help build her confidence. A couple of months after the work placement, a job came up within the same team and she was successful in securing the role. Kerry said it was a “fantastic achievement” for her.
Kerry is also a mental health first aider and has really turned her struggle around, listen to the full interview with our reporter Natalie Beer below…
Kerry said: “I really want to inspire people, to give them hope and help them see that you can turn your situation around. It can be a terribly lonely place but I’m living proof that with the right help it is possible to turn your life around.”