Let’s Talk: Mental Health with Melissa

Happy New Year! I hope you’re all having a great start to 2019.


I know I’ve been away from writing for quite some time now. A lot has happened since my last blog post in the summer of 2018 as you can imagine. After graduation I moved to a different country and started my grad job. It’s taken me some time to settle in and I’m still in the process of being settled (but we’re getting there slowly).


This year I’m aiming to reinitiate the content here and bring you more collaborations with other individuals I’m connecting with – I think it would be great for you all to read about some of the interesting insights these individuals have.


2019’s first blog post has been written by Melissa Vanham, a qualified assistant practitioner/psychologist. She’s completed a PGDip at Middlesex University and has completed placements at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. She’s got some great insights around the work she’s done in mental health and outside of her professional aspirations in becoming a clinical psychologist, she also creates some great YouTube and Instagram content. The links to her social pages can be found at the end of this post.


So sit back, get comfortable and enjoy.


“Good morning, good afternoon, good evening…whatever the time is when you are reading this. My name is Melissa and I am a qualified assistant practitioner/psychologist in Mental Health. The new year has started and naturally, I’d like to reflect back on the year I’ve had. For me, 2018 was a VERY long year, I was tired most of the time, I managed to live my best life, I had my downs, but I also learnt a lot that year, which I am very grateful for.


In this post, I’d like to focus on one thing that was highlighted in the year but if you want to know the other things, if you ask nicely, I might spill. During my placements for my Post-Graduate Diploma, I was working with people with moderate to severe mental health difficulties. I’ve always known mental health was a big issue but until you are seeing the effects it has on someone’s life, right in front of you, you don’t fully realise how truly heart-breaking it can be.


During one of my inpatient placements I came across a very successful butler – his salary was a minimum of £100,000 a year. At the time, he was the butler for an Arab royal and had previously worked with the Royal family. What a pleasure it was speaking to him, he had so many stories of the Royal Family, stories of when Prince Harry was a teenager (again, if you ask nicely, I might spill). This gentleman was suffering from depression and wanted to end his life – he just did not want to be in alive anymore.


I found it difficult dealing with this case because this was something I was not used to hearing. I felt as though I needed to do more, but I just did not know what to do nor what to say in attempt to change his mind. I remembering not looking forward to going home that day. I constantly had thoughts running through my head…


Will he be okay tonight?


Will he still be alive tomorrow?


Fortunately, the next day at placement, he was still around.


We spent the next couple of days together on 1-1 therapeutic interventions. I remember us speaking on how he has lived a happy life and enjoyed it thoroughly, but due to loneliness, a lack of sleep and other triggers, it was just all too much for him. Towards his near discharge date, he was able to reflect on his time on the ward. He was taking part in activities – he felt his life had meaning again. We helped him in searching and attending interviews for work, but what he most appreciated was “having someone genuine to speak too”. Unfortunately, my placement ended so I could not keep in contact with him. However, I’d like to think he is there someone, back to doing what he loves or at least, slowing recovering back to the man he once was.


What I want you to take away:


Mental Health is a critical issue that is honestly affecting everyone in one way or another and until you’re faced with the issue e.g. as a mental health professional, it is hard to fully see the effect it can have on people. The reason I choose this example, I suppose, is to say no matter how successful you may be or how much money you may be earning, it does not mean you are immune mental health issues.


If someone you know is going through any mental health problems and you think/are scared to talk to them because of not knowing what to say. Simply have a conversation with them. That goes a much longer way than you’d expect.


I hope you have enjoyed this read. If you have any comments, questions or want to continue this conversation, you can connect with me on Instagram @melviee, on Twitter @melvieen and on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/melissaa0217).


I hope you all have a great 2019!


Melissa Vanham


Remember to prioritise your mental health just as highly as your physical health. Check up on your friends and family today – it only takes a moment. If anyone needs support my DMs are always open – you know where to contact me.


Thanks for taking the time to read her piece. I’m looking forward to what 2019 has in store for the blog and I plan on really expanding this to places it hasn’t been before!


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