City and Hackney mental health chief Mandy Stevens gets award for opening up about her own breakdown

PUBLISHED: 09:49 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 29 June 2017

Mandy Stevens picks up her special achievement award from the Cavell Nurses� Trust

Mandy Stevens picks up her special achievement award from the Cavell Nurses� Trust

Cavell Nurses� Trust

A mental health chief who used her own breakdown to encourage others to seek help has been presented with a “special achievement award” by the Cavell Nurses’ Trust charity.

Mandy Stevens, from Stoke Newington, spent 30 years working in mental health services, rising through the ranks to become director of nursing for two large NHS mental health trusts.

But last year she experienced a crisis from the other side of the fence.

She spent 12 weeks battling suicidal thoughts on a psychiatric ward at City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health and decided to share her story online – “to reach out and say mental illness can happen to anyone”.

Simon Knighton, chairman of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust – a group which supports nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants suffering personal or financial hardship – said Mandy had given a “powerful signal that it is ok to reach out for help”.

“We hope other nursing professionals throughout the UK – who work tirelessly to help others, often under great stress – will be encouraged by Mandy’s story, and feel no shame in asking for help when they need it,” he added.

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