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Posted on Jan 5 2022 by Fiona Bailey

Mental health staff working at a Northampton psychiatric hospital have helped give a young woman “hope for the future” as she plans to embark upon a career in the sector in the New Year.

Saffron has been an inpatient at St Andrew’s Healthcare for nine months, after she was transferred from another mental health facility, which was deemed unsuitable for her needs.

The 19-year-old, who has chosen to waive her right to patient confidentiality, has told her story in a short video in a bid to raise awareness around mental health. Now, she is looking ahead and hoping that 2022 will see her leave hospital and get on with the next stage of her life.

She said: “Before I came to St Andrew’s, I wasn’t doing very well at all. I was really struggling with my eating and I was on a ward that didn’t facilitate my diagnoses which are Borderline Personality Disorder and Anorexia Nervosa.

“This made things very difficult because I was surrounded by people that didn’t understand and didn’t know how to look after me properly and it was a very unstable environment for me.”

Since Saffron was admitted to St Andrew’s, she has gone from strength to strength and now has unescorted leave, which she has never before been well enough to be granted.

Much of her improved health she attributes to the staff on her ward and her responsible clinician Dr Jonathan Baggott. 

Saffron said: “I’ve never got on with any of my doctors before as I’ve had a lot of people who have overmedicated me. When I first came here I was absolutely terrified that St Andrew’s was going to be like other hospitals I’ve stayed in, where I’m told what I have to eat, what I have to do, whether I’m wheelchair bound because of my BMI and I’ve experienced nothing of the sort here.”

Since being admitted to St Andrew’s, Saffron has become involved in staff training, has become the advocate for her division, sat in on board meetings and has been offered higher education and work experience.

Saffron has said she has learnt so much and has become inspired by the team who have helped her that she now wants to work in the field of mental health.

She said: “I’d really like to go into psychiatry, so I’ve been involved in patient feedback services during my stay at St Andrew’s, and gaining as much experience as I can. Anything I experience here will not just help me to recover, but it will help me get to the place where I want to be so I can help others.”

St Andrew’s CEO Jess Lievesley said: “I am constantly inspired by the recovery journeys of our service users   and I’m thrilled to hear that Saffron has made such significant progress since being admitted to St Andrew’s.

“It’s really important to us that we involve our patients in their recovery journey, as we’ve seen first-hand how co-production can really empower people.

“It’s exciting to hear of Saffron’s career plans and we are certainly huge supporters of staff who have ‘lived experience’ of mental health issues. Saffron and all her care team should be very proud of what she has achieved and that she finally has hope for the future. I really think Saffron could go on to do great things and that 2022 could be her year.”

To watch Saffron's story, click here.