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Posted on Jul 19 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A patient who was been in mental health services for 10 years is starting to plan her future after “turning her life around”.

Saffron, who has chosen to waive her right to patient confidentiality, has appeared in the St Andrew’s Healthcare podcast On the Ward to discuss her experience of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act (1983).

Speaking on the podcast, which has been nominated for a Nursing Times award, she disclosed how when she first arrived at St Andrew’s Healthcare she struggled to manage her conditions of Borderline Personality Disorder and Anorexia Nervosa.

The 19-year-old told presenter John Barry-Waldron that she has been in mental health services since the age of nine, but says for the first time she feels like she has made some good progress because of the “routine” staff have introduced for her.

She said: “I know it’s going to be my last time in hospital. I’ve worked very hard during my admission. I came here on a three-to-one constant, which means you are supervised by three people 24 hours a day. All three of them had to stand arms-length from me at all times.

“But I got my first Section 17 leave two months after coming here and now I have all my leave unescorted; I can go out whenever I want and I have improved significantly since I came here.”

Despite feeling better, Saffron finds the stigma commonly associated with mental health hospitals very difficult.

She said: “I think people still think that mental hospitals are asylums with straitjackets and white padded walls which is very, very outdated and it’s totally not what it is at all.

“I think there’s a bridge between community services and inpatients where there is a lot of withheld knowledge. Some people’s knowledge doesn’t go beyond the asylums of more than 40 years ago.”

Saffron is now looking to the future and once she leaves St Andrew’s Healthcare she plans to go to college and study paediatric psychiatry.

Speaking about meeting Saffron, John said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Saffron and to hear about her incredible recovery journey. She’s an inspiring young woman who has managed to completely turn her life around.”

A new episode of the podcast On the Ward is released every Tuesday and can be heard via all the usual podcast channels, or click here.