Patient view

My nurse believed in me and saved my life

Susan Hemming says Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust community psychiatric nurse Kelly Hayes encouraged her not to give up

My community psychiatric nurse went above and beyond for me. I have experienced mental health issues all of my adult life, and when Kelly Hayes from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust took over my care, I was at rock bottom. 

Susan Hemming was able to go to university with the help of
community psychiatric nurse Kelly Hayes (inset). 

I had given up on my life. I was suicidal, had relapsed with anorexia, was self-harming daily and living without any hope.

I had always dreamed of becoming an occupational therapist, but was never able to go to university because my dyslexia severely affected my maths ability and every institution insisted I had a grade C at GCSE level. 

Encouragement the whole way

No one, least of all me, believed I could do it – except for Kelly. Everyone else suggested I go into a full-time intensive programme for complex needs. 

Looking back now, had I done so, I know I would have let my disorders become my defining characteristics and would probably never have established the motivation to get well. 

Kelly went out of her way to research my options. She convinced me to sit an entrance exam for a local college access course. When I failed, I was distraught and suicidal, and I rang Kelly in bits. She picked me back up, helped me put myself together again and encouraged me. 

Eternally grateful 

I got a tutor, studied as hard as I could and sat the exams again – and I got in. I wasn’t due to see Kelly for 2 weeks, but when I told her the news she brought a card and a handmade present to my house to say well done. It showed she really cared. 

I made it to university to study occupational therapy, as I had dreamed.

Kelly took a chance and believed in me. Every time I was ready to give up on life she convinced me that life hadn’t given up on me and neither had she.

I am eternally grateful to her. She saved my life.

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