A Peer Support Worker who has used her personal experience of mental ill health to inspire and motivate others receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has been awarded a prestigious prize in recognition of her commitment and dedication.
Haley Gosling, who works on NSFT's Thurne Ward at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich, was presented with the "emerging talent" accolade during the Trust's Putting People First Awards, presented at Sprowston Manor on 5 May.
Winning was especially poignant for Haley, who has used mental health services herself in the past and now uses that experience and knowledge to help others.
She said: "Winning a staff award when I was once an inpatient myself is an amazing personal and professional achievement for me and represents hope and opportunity for everyone. I'm just doing my job which I enjoy and find really rewarding.
"When I come into work it gives me the opportunity to provide a greater insight for my colleagues about the challenges faced by someone who has faced a mental health illness and inspire others on their journey to recovery.
"However, much of the credit has to go to the rest of my team, who have all been so fantastic and supportive. I have grown so much as part of the team and my colleagues have all guided me in different ways with their experiences and ways of working. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work alongside the fantastic staff at the Trust and provide vital support to patients."
Haley's nomination was one of 180 received in the countdown to the ceremony, and came from Owen Spalding, a Staff Nurse on the ward, who praised her commitment to involving service users and listening to their feedback to try and improve services still further.
He said: "Haley has developed an innovative and relatively new role within the Trust and made it her own. Her proactive and positive approach is paramount in developing a link between service users and staff, as well as helping focus both groups of people on the importance of recovery in the wellness journey.
"Haley's experience of mental health difficulties, and the empathetic way in which she has presents this to service users, has helped many feel valued on their recovery journey, while a great deal of feedback we receive specifically mentions Haley's input as an integral part of their care.
"Haley has also been involved in making the ward environment a more inclusive and recovery-focused place for service users to get better, and for staff to work in (by including) artwork and designs throughout the ward.
"She constantly strives to go above and beyond at work and regularly engages in one-to-ones with service users who feel comfortable speaking to her because of her experience of mental health problems. It can also help offer them another perspective on their care and treatment, as well as helping them understand there is less of a barrier between staff and service user, making them more willing to engage with other members of staff in the future. We are lucky to have her."
Haley's award was one of nine staff-nominated accolades presented during the evening. In addition, two Public Choice awards were also handed out after service users and carers were invited to vote for their mental health heroes and say thank you for the outstanding care they have received.
Michael Scott, NSFT Chief Executive, said: "Our staff are the bedrock of everything we do and we are delighted that we were able to give them the recognition they so greatly deserve during this awards ceremony.
"We were really pleased to receive such a wide range of high quality nominations. It shows the high regard in which our staff hold their colleagues and is a reflection of their unfailing hard work and commitment to our service users and their families.
"Our particularly congratulations go to Haley and our other winners. They set a fantastic example to us all with the exceptional service they provide."
The awards were sponsored by media company Archant, NHS Professionals and Sprowston Manor.To read NSFT’s special awards magazine, which gives details of all of the winners and runners-up, visit www.nsft.nhs.uk/insight For more information visit www.nsftawards.co.uk