Wayne's story

Follow Wayne's story of recovery from his mental health struggles at Priory Hospital Kemple View.

In February 2016, I was admitted to Priory Hospital Kemple View in Blackburn. I had problems controlling my anger and was constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode, which kept getting me into trouble. I knew I had mental health issues and needed specialist support.

At first, I struggled with some of the processes at Kemple View.

Also, the daily routines in the hospital weren’t what I was used to and it took me a while to ‘warm up’ to the staff. Furthermore, Kemple View is a non-smoking hospital, which I found to be particularly difficult, at least at first.

After a period of time, I was allowed accompanied leave from the hospital. I was given permission to walk to the local shop or a café with a member of staff. However, I didn’t want to go and sit in a café – I wanted to do activities. I asked whether I’d be allowed to play football in the Social Inclusion Football League (SIFL) during my periods of leave. Eventually I was allowed, alongside some other patients and staff which was great news.

Kemple View staff could see how much the physical activity was benefiting us patients, so they agreed to take us to a new league and this time, staff were matched to patients based on common interests.

Just over a year after I’d been admitted, I applied for unescorted leave so I could attend the SIFL football sessions on my own. My application was discussed at one of the monthly meetings and I was granted the leave. Following this, the management team asked me to give talks to new staff members to help them understand things from a patient’s perspective and realise how the little things can make a big difference.

Improving and evolving

In January 2018, I started volunteering for Creative Support as Kemple View actively seek suitable volunteering opportunities for their patients.

Blokes United was a new initiative for Creative Support and I volunteered for this too. Blokes United in Blackburn first kicked off with five staff members and a number of patients having a kick about and going to the pub to socialise afterwards. For many of the patients, this opportunity provided them with a safe space to open up. A pub wasn’t the usual place for mental health patients to socialise, but Kemple View were willing to be open minded and take a chance. The Butlers Arms in Blackburn understood our circumstances and were happy to serve us tea, coffee and pizzas. The Blokes United model has since proved to be a massive success at Kemple View.

Two and a half years after being admitted to Kemple View, I was volunteering every day for Creative Support. I was living an ‘outside life’ and only returning to Kemple View for my evening meal and to sleep. Seeing that I was moving on with my life inspired others and gave them hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel for them too.

When it comes to being discharged from a mental health unit, patients are usually transitioned into shared accommodation with live-in staff. However, I’d built up my independence and confidence so much that I didn’t want this – I felt I was ready to live on my own. Kemple View helped me transition to living independently. I found a flat and I moved in over the course of several weeks, initially spending one night a week away from the unit. In January 2020, four years after I was admitted to Kemple View, I was finally discharged.

Where I am now

A paid job opportunity at Creative Football came up in June 2020. I was encouraged to apply and two years on, I’m proud to be a community development support worker, helping others with mental health conditions through the power of football. My role involves supporting current Kemple View patients and I can see how the culture has changed and improved massively over the years.

I believe this is largely due to the management and leadership of the organisation, how they have actively listened to patients and consequently changed organisational policies and practices for the better. Kemple View adopt an individual, person-centred approach and recognise the benefits of embedding physical activity into a patient’s recovery programme. The positive results are clear to see; more patients are being successfully discharged than ever before.

*Patient’s name and image has been changed to protect their identity. 


Wayne's story

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