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Open Day will offer valuable mental health career advice

An NHS mental health unit is opening its doors to the public this week to raise awareness of career opportunities within mental health services and just how rewarding those careers can be.

The Develop Yourself in Mental Health open day on Friday 9 January is being hosted by Wedgwood House, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Local health staff will be on hand to discuss their work as well as other career opportunities available within their service.

Wedgwood House, on Hardwick Lane, is an acute inpatient unit which provides care and support to patients with mental health conditions including depression, psychosis, and dementia.

The event is primarily aimed at people interested in starting or progressing their career in NHS mental health services, whether they are new to the NHS or already work in other areas. But people who are interested in mental health issues and services in a more general way are also welcome to attend, including service users and carers.

Mike Seaman, Acute Service Manager at Wedgwood House, explained: "Working in mental health services is one of the most satisfying careers you can follow, with a wide range of jobs and roles, requiring people of all ages and with various levels of experience and backgrounds.

"The open day is a golden opportunity for anyone interested in mental health to visit us and find out more about the field in which we work, and what career or volunteering opportunities might be available to them." 

Run by Norfolk and Suffolk Health NHS Foundation Trust, Wedgwood House was the first unit to employ Peer Support Workers. Peer Support training gives people who have lived with mental health problems the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge and train for jobs within the Trust.

Recruiting more Peer Support Workers will also be a focus of the day.

Supported by organisations including Julian Support, Healthwatch Suffolk, Suffolk Carers, Age UK and Workwise, the event is being held from 10am-3pm and includes talks by staff from University College Suffolk (UCS), Recovery College tutors, and Trust staff, including Helen Jackson, a highly experienced Senior Liaison Practitioner.

The Recovery College was set up by the Trust in October 2013 to empower people with mental health problems to become experts in their own recovery. It provides a range of courses and workshops to service users, carers and members of staff to develop their skills, understand mental health, identify goals and support their access to opportunities.

"The open day, we hope to see everyone from sixth formers, to college students, qualified and unqualified health staff, service users and carers, who want to learn about the many career pathways available, and to also talk about things such as foundation degrees, pre and post-graduation courses, as well as finding out about peer support work and the Trust's Recovery College," Mike added.