• OSJCT Area Operations Director, Aaron Whitehead

This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, and our guest for 60 seconds is OSJCT’s Aaron Whitehead, Area Operations Director for Wiltshire.

Alongside Aaron’s day job, he is also a Registered Mental Health Nurse. We spent some time learning more about Aaron and his role.

Q: Explain the role of a Mental Health Nurse?
A: To combat stigma and help people and their families improve their lives on a daily basis working towards recovery. The role is complex, diverse and incredibly rewarding.    

Q: What wakes you up in the morning, tea or coffee?
A: Coffee (a minimum of two cups)

Q: Why did you decide to become a Mental Health Nurse?
A: I have always been passionate about those most vulnerable in society. I also had personal experience of mental health issues within my family.

Q: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
A: The poet Charles Bukowski.  

Q: Press ups for 10 minutes or a 10 -minute nap?
A: 10-minute nap.

Q: If you could sum up being a Mental Health Nurse in 3 words, what would they be?
A: Challenging, empowering and rewarding.

Q: What’s your career highlight to date?
A: The highlights have always been seeing people leave health and social care settings having recovered from a crisis in their lives. 

Q: A role like this must be emotionally and physically tough at times. What was the most challenging thing about being a Mental Health Nurse?
A: Trying to switch off at the end of the day.

Q: What would you name the autobiography of your life?
A: A life of Change  

Q: What would you say is the most rewarding thing about being a Mental Health Nurse?
A: Giving people the help and strength to overcome their challenges and fears when they feel lost in society.

Q: How do you feel being a Mental Health Nurse has changed as the awareness of mental health has increased in the last few years?
A: I think a lot of the principles are the same but we are much more focused now on talking therapies and community integration due to the decrease in stigma and the willingness to accept we all struggle at times, it is not a weakness.

Q: If someone was reading this who was struggling with mental health issues, what would be your advice?
A: You’re not on your own, talk to someone as there is a great deal of help there.