The In2gr8mentalhealth web forum provides a normalising, compassionate and campaigning space for mental health professionals who have experienced mental ill health, to explore this identity and question the us / them split beliefs of the systems that they work in.
The founder is Dr Natalie Kemp, Clinical Psychologist, who has designed, and runs the web forum as a part of her own recovery from mental ill health, to ensure members have someone to talk to about their experiences and to help question. This is all voluntary work. She has returned to the mental health profession to help support other professionals in a similar position.
The website at www.in2gr8mentalhealth.com details more about the surveys by the British Psychological Society, University College London and The New Savoy Conference which highlight that many mental health professionals are drawn into working in mental health as they have lived experience themselves and empathy and compassion for those they work with. Also that austerity measures means many in the health service is under untold pressure to meet demands whilst balancing staff wellbeing and potential 'burnout'.
Growing awareness of the struggles that mental health professionals also have, brings us back to understanding us all as humans first, and that we can all have challenging times which affect how we are able to cope. It is a hope of the forum that peers will help bring rich questioning to the fallacy of an 'us and them' or 'perfect immune service provider' and 'always vulnerable service user' divide.
Natalie speaks in lectures to increase awareness of lived experience of mental ill health in the health care professions and to destigmatise it. It is her belief that mental health professions should be a beacon for destigmatising the human experience of distress which can occur for anyone given a nexus of personal, social and organisational pressures. Natalie's particular interest is connecting with professional trainees and those newly qualified, to model dropping the shame of mental ill health, to open conversations with compassion, to practice capacity management and give them support to flourish.