Posted on: 10 July 2020

Miriam Peck Recovery & Wellbeing College Peer Administrator was redeployed as a ward assistant on Amazon Ward at St Charles.

I worked alongside a psychologist doing great work running psychology sessions for service users and reflective practice sessions for staff on Amazon Ward. It was very useful getting her input on the background to the distress of some service users on the ward and helped me, a new occupational therapist and the activities coordinator to work together to start conversations with them.

I had mentioned that I was very interested in the PTM framework, which is about to be rolled out at St Charles Hospital. We were asked to arrange a trauma-focused session on Zoom with one of the service users. An assistant psychologist walked me through a PTM assessment form beforehand and I attended the session to provide support. 

The service user had previously spoken a lot about underlying issues, but didn't mention them during the Zoom session. I suggested that he might find it easier to take part in our workshops at the Recovery & Wellbeing College, as he would be among more people with similar experiences and could speak or just listen, depending on how he felt.

I also mentioned a referral to CNWL Employment Services, as he had said that returning to work was a high priority, and suggested that the CMHT contact Brent & Westminster Mind about their befriending service, as the service user has no social network in London. All of these as recommendations in the report he sent back to the clinical team. 

The psychologist mentioned to me that, until we met on the ward, she hadn't thought of referring patients to the Recovery & Wellbeing College (RWC) workshops and courses. I learned a lot and I think they learned a lot about the strengths we have at RWC as a result of our experiences of mental health challenges and recovery.

A few days later I was in the ward office when there was a discussion about a newly admitted service user, who had no recourse to public funds and had come here to escape family threats because of their sexuality. I said that the service user should contact GALOP (part of the domestic abuse umbrella organisation for the tri-borough area) and with their help contact a firm of immigration & asylum solicitors, so that they can access NHS healthcare. All things I know from my peer Domestic Abuse Ambassador role. 

I went to speak to the service user and gave them contact details for both of these services. A man waiting in the office, who turned out to be the clinical director for North-West London, said, "What an amazing breadth of knowledge there is here!" 

I hope we can do more to promote co-production involving peers, practitioners and third-sector organisations, as I think we will be creating better prospects for personal recovery if we do. Being redeployed to inpatient services was a great opportunity to showcase this.

JoshMarvin, Assistant Psychologist feedback to Miriam:

“I wanted to thank you for your hard-work and especially with your help in working with DR. It was really great for me to speak to you, to get your ideas and perspective. It was also lovely to work with someone so compassionate and understanding of how difficult it is to be within mental health services. I certainly learnt from working with you and I hope working with psychology was helpful for you too.  I'm leaving the trust in September to start a doctorate so it is unlikely I will be fortunate enough to work with you again. I wish you all the best in continuing with your work in the CNWL recovery college which makes such a huge difference to clients and staff I have worked with.”