Kieran’s story: My journey to become a PSW

“I was 17 years old when I first experienced mental health issues. I was halfway through my A level studies, trying to fit in with the crowd and find my feet as a young adult. The pressures of life at home; college and everything in between, including some unwise life choices, led to me being sectioned. It was one of the lowest and scariest points in my life. I won’t lie, it was difficult talking to nurses, doctors and other professionals, sometimes lying to them about how I felt. If I’m honest, I felt a bit scared about what might happen if I told the truth. I felt that they might be trying to ‘catch me out’ or ‘trip me up’…but I soon learnt they were just caring people who wanted to help.

“There were many ups and many downs during my time with mental health services. It wasn’t a straight line to ‘normality’, but every moment was a learning curve. I managed to finish my time at college having earned qualifications. I found work doing many different jobs, working in retail and catering. I also went back to college to study health and social care and completed many employability courses. After spending a few years experimenting with jobs and trying to figure out my purpose in life I discovered that working with people was something I had a passion for. I suppose working with my mental health team helped me discover that working with people was what I wanted to do. So, I did! Never would I have thought that any of this was possible back when I was a 17-year-old but with hard work, patience and the right support I was able to achieve success and you can too!”

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