Psychiatric podcast nominated for top nursing award

Mick Ferris
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A podcast made in North Benfleet which follows people with complex mental health issues such as psychosis and borderline personality disorder has been nominated for a top nursing prize.

On the Ward, which is hosted by mental health nurse John-Barry Waldron and features patients from St Andrew’s Healthcare, has been shortlisted for the Nursing in Mental Health category at this year’s Nursing Times Awards.

The third series of the podcast is currently being broadcast with a new episode released every Tuesday. The newly updated format follows a different patient each week as they show John what an average day looks like for them while staying at a psychiatric hospital.

John, who created the podcast in 2019 as part of his dissertation, said: “I wanted to give a voice to those who are recovering from a complex mental health condition. At the time I was working with patients who were telling me that the stigma of mental illness has such a significant impact on their lives.

“To put that in context, a former patient once told me that when he has on home leave, he would rather tell people he has been to prison than admit he has been staying in a mental health hospital. I think that says it all.

“The perception of psychiatric hospitals is when people are sent to one, they disappear from society. I wanted to find a way to give those people a voice and at the same time educate the public about the realities of mental illness and what happens at a hospital. We need to encourage people to have open and honest conversations about mental illness and I hope the podcast has helped make people less apprehensive about complex mental health conditions.”

The podcast has been downloaded more than 20,000 times and can be found via web browsers.

The Nursing Times Awards will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London on Wednesday, October 26.


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