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Posted on Jul 26 2022 by Bobbie Kelly

Podcast participant dispels myths of what life is like inside St Andrew’s

A man who has been diagnosed with psychosis and Asperger’s has admitted staying in a psychiatric hospital was nothing like he had imagined.

Yusuf, who spoke candidly about his experience in the St Andrew’s Healthcare On the Ward podcast, said: “Being in the hospital is not the experience I expected to have.

“I expected syringes and needles and people being sedated and looking like they’re half dead. I expected padded rooms and locked, cold rooms, no heating, no shower, a flat bed. It is not like that. Actually the beds are pretty comfortable as they are memory foam. I was expecting people dressed in white and straitjackets.”

Yusuf spends his time playing keyboard, taking part in art therapy, learning origami, swimming on site, playing ping pong and studying for his Maths GCSE which the hospital’s education department have entered him into.

In addition, he has been taking part in some work experience in a nearby charity shop where he has been gaining valuable customer service skills and learning other aspects of retail including stock control, merchandising, pricing items and operating the till.

He said: “I am really happy to be gaining this work experience and to be back working in the community again. Not only am I learning new things every time I come in, but it’s getting me off the ward and giving me the opportunity to meet new people.”

Edwin Dean, who teaches in Adult Education, set up the external vocational work experience and says it has been hugely beneficial to Yusuf.

He said: “Working in the charity shop has been the perfect fit for Yusuf as he will be going back into the community at some point and this is real time, real people. He took to the work like a duck to water.

“Not only that, but he will gain qualifications from this work and references which will be built into his CV. This is all confidence building and socially interactive.

In addition to his volunteering work, Yusuf said he has also found the people who work at St Andrew’s Healthcare have also helped him improve and understand more about his mental health conditions.

He said: “Staff here are very good actually. One staff member has helped me to open up just by making observations about me which have really resonated with me.”

Episode 6 is the penultimate episode of the podcast. Hosted by Nurse John-Barry Waldron, the podcast has been shortlisted for the Nursing in Mental Health category at this year’s Nursing Times Awards.

On the Ward can be found in all the usual places where podcasts are played.