Katrina McDonald, is a patient at Mount View Practice in Fleetwood and uses their mental health nursing service, after experiencing a period of mental ill health that could have ended with her taking her own life.  At the time Katrina was under extreme pressure due to existing long term health problems with Fibromyalgia, being out of work and on benefits and as a result her mental health plummeted and she found herself in crisis. She knew her GP surgery well and at this point turned to them for help.

“I could have turned left and gone home and taken all my medication or turn right and find help.  I turned right to seek help from my practice

The practice team could see Katrina was in crisis and called for Lorna, the Mental Health and Wellbeing practitioner to attend.  Lorna took charge of the situation and counselled Katrina there and then, organising the Crisis Team to start their visits the next day.  They drew up a ‘Contract of Trust’ where Katrina made a commitment not to harm herself and Lorna committed to see her after she had completed her treatment with the Crisis Team.

Under the care of the Crisis Team Katrina had daily visits.   The team helped her with nutrition, sleep, hygiene and setting small steps to achieve. When she completed her treatment Katrina was referred back into the practice mental health team where she continued her journey to improving her mental health.

Now back with Lorna at the practice mental health team, Katrina has a treatment plan to follow.  Her meetings with Lorna consist of talking therapy, putting in place coping strategies for negative thinking and tools to help at times of panic.  Katrina also uses apps on her phone recommended to her, which have proved invaluable.

“The great thing has been the consistent and cohesive approach to mental health throughout the practice.  You see the same person all the time – there’s no need to explain your background and where you are now.  It’s the personal care they give you remembering the little details” 

Having been under the care of Lorna for about a year, the next  part of Katrina’s journey to recovery was to join a friendship group.  With Katrina suffering from anxiety and depression this was a hard step to take.

She couldn’t find a suitable group in the area so Katrina put together a list of what she need in a group. With support from Lorna and a local community initiative called Healthier Fleetwood, Katrina started up the  support group Women Aloud.  The next steps included advertising the group and a venue and Women Aloud was launched for women who suffer from anxiety and depression and to help tackle loneliness on International Women’s Day.

“When you suffer from anxiety and depression, it goes hand in hand with being lonely. You want to meet people, but as you take your first step into a room full of strangers the anxiety is crippling and you turn round and leave.”

The group meets every two weeks and women attend as and when they need company or are going through a bad patch.  They have guest speakers giving advice on mindfulness, getting back into employment and benefits and personal safety by a PSCO.

As a result of her success the group has gone from strength to strength aiding Katrina’s own recovery.  Katrina has now been approached to help a group of isolated women refugees in the area.; the next step on Katrina’ journey to recovery.