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Jess’ story: her mental health journey and staying at Becton

Sapphire Lodge
10 October 2019

This is Jess. In 2018 Jess was an inpatient at our Becton Centre for Children and Young People. The centre treats children and young people with a range of difficulties that are seriously impacting on their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

If you broke your leg, you’d go to the hospital without a thought. It’s the same with mental health and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Jess stayed with us on Sapphire Lodge for around two and a half months. She has shared with us her experiences of Becton and her mental health journey. 

I was admitted to Becton after an overdose to end my life. I was struggling with self-harm, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), low mood and suicidal ideations. I was experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations related to my OCD. I needed constant support in order to keep myself safe and work through my struggles which my community team at the time were unable to do.

Selfie of Jess

 “At Becton, I found being able to have constant support at any time essential. Also being around others my age who understood and could relate to what I was going through. I think as patients we kind of helped and supported each other and that was a really nice thing to see, despite the circumstances. The school was amazing in supporting me during a crucial time in my education. Though GCSEs aren’t everything, it was a constant stress for me and being able to do my final exams there with the support I received was more than I could have ever asked for.

“I also found groups like occupational therapy with Annie really fun as well as very helpful. It was a really fun way that all of the patients could come together and discuss ways of coping and strategies. In my final OT group session we made slime, which was so fun and really enjoyable (despite the few disasters and the mess). Annie always made things really fun and energetic but also supported me when I was very low. I found all of the staff members amazing but some of the ones that really stuck out for me were Aimee G, Martin, Archie, and student, Courtney.”

Jess’s advice to young people at Becton:

Jess talks about how that you might be struggling with your mental health when you first arrive at Becton, but would like to reassure you that things will improve in time.

 “Honestly, just that it does get better and I promise that. It won’t be an automatic thing that as soon as you’re discharged, things are automatically great. Recovery takes time. But it does get better just don’t give up. And also, don’t be afraid or embarrassed of the fact that you’re a inpatient. I felt that way for a while until I came to the conclusion that it was something I needed and plus, if you broke your leg, you’d go to the hospital without a thought. It’s the same with mental health and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

 “To put it bluntly, if I wasn’t in Becton I’m not sure I’d be here today. I was at a really detrimental place in my mental health and without the support and care I received from the staff at Becton, I’m not so sure I would have got through it. It played a huge part in my journey and I am so grateful for that.

“I’m currently going into my final year of college doing Health and Social Care and will be applying to university to do mental health nursing in the coming months! Working in mental health is something I have wanted to do since I was 10 years old and being in Becton really solidified that decision. I feel that I got a real insight into what it’s like being a patient at a mental health unit and also what a good mental health nurse looks like. I was also volunteering for a mental health charity for young people in Barnsley called TADS which is great for individuals who are trying to access support but are on the waiting list.”

Important things to consider when talking about mental health services and young people:

“Be honest about what it’s really like and that it really isn’t the end of the world if you have to access mental health services. The first time that inpatient treatment was mentioned to me I was told by somebody in my life at the time that “I would never get a job” or “would never be able to drive” or “would never be able to go to college or university” and that just blatantly isn’t true. And I just don’t think there’s enough accurate information on what it really is like to people. I think a lot of people are still in the mindset that being an inpatient is still like it was many years ago and it really isn’t. And if people knew that I think there would be a lot less stigma around mental health and related services and also would be a lot less scary for people who are going to be accessing these services.”

Jess is still being supported by her local CAMHS team but is due to be discharged in the next few months.


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