NSFT works collaboratively and in partnership with service users who have a learning disability in order to learn from their expertise and lived experience about how services can be improved, a concept that was inconceivable as recently as 30 years ago. Below is a case study showing how service users help the Trust.
The charity Mencap estimates that about 40% of adults with a learning disability also have mental health problems, which is more than double the rate in the general population.
That is why Roxy Begum, who is 37, is so well qualified to help train our learning disability and mental health staff, and also mental health nursing students at the University of Suffolk in her home town of Ipswich, roles which she undertakes with huge enthusiasm.
As well as having a learning disability and mental health issues, she has physical health problems which means she is a wheelchair user.
A Green Light Champion and regular attender of Green Light Network meetings, Roxy has worked for many years with Sue Bridges, Nurse Consultant (Learning Disabilities / Autism).
Roxy said: "I'm a self-advocate and I like to share my personal experiences of health care with NSFT staff and students so they can learn from them.
"For example, I've spoken to staff on Poppy Ward at the Woodlands unit about the bad experiences I had there, which were about poor physical access and a complete lack of Easy Read leaflets and booklets. These issues have been addressed so that nobody will have to go through what I experienced.
"There have also been times when staff have only seen my wheelchair or just focused on the fact that I haven't got any legs.
"It's important that staff see the person in the wheelchair, speak to you as an individual and do all they can to meet your needs in the most effective way possible."
Roxy finds a receptive audience when she talks to nursing UoS nursing students on topics that include her personal story, the Green Light Toolkit, learning disability, mental health and the reasonable adjustments that can be made to make sure services meet the needs of people with a learning disability or autism.
To read more about learning disability nursing, click here.