It's June 2019 and today is the first day in what is a huge jump for me.
For the past year I have been juggling two roles. A full time clinical nurse specialist role in the NHS and a full time director role as the founder of digital mentality. It isn't something I ever thought I would do, but then it turns out stubbornness can be an excellent accelerator for innovation.
I don't know when I decided I was going to set up my company exactly, but it was an idea I had played with for a while before I made that initial first step and set up the paperwork. Even then I think I felt overwhelmed by the prospect, so I sat for a while and did just about nothing.
It wasn't until I fully began to realise why I was thinking of doing this that anything actually changed and I learnt the first and most important lesson I would learn on this journey - The why is more important then the how.
It turns out, when I sat and began working through my business plan and website, the why was screamingly obvious. I am passionate about mental health and quality mental health support. Suddenly I knew the moment this little seed of an idea had started, and it was as I walked onto the stage to collect my first ever national award as Rising Star Nurse of the Year at the Nursing times in 2014.
It was the moment that I became swept up in innovation and decided that quality care and user experience shouldn't just be at the heart of what we did but the driver of it. That nurse's should not be relegated to assistants but should embrace their ability as leaders. It was at that point I had began to imbrace innovation in my NHS role which in turn allowed me to turn my hand to expanding my experience into the corporate world. I began to take on corporate contracts, working with experience design and helping to ensure quality mental health evidence underpinned the products people were selling.
By 2017 I had become known for my work but had become frustrated with limitations and waiting lists within NHS services. I had secured my first permanent freelance contract with an amazing app called WYSA who use AI to support mental resilience. The company I had registered was groaning to life and by the end of 2018 I had multiple contracts with app companies and had taken my first couple of TV support roles. The company was growing and I was working 70 hour weeks trying to hold both jobs. It was time for a change.
Still that change scared me, could I leave nursing behind for good and become a media therapist? Again I came back to my Why, Quality mental health support. I had gotten to the point that I felt I was doing more good in the work I did for my company then I was in my NHS role. I had private cases who were recovering quickly because they could access support when they needed it. I was part of a media revolution where I was being invited to support more and more programs about mental wellbeing. For every celebrity client or corporate contract I was able to see a disadvantaged child for free. What I lacked was time.
So the decision was made, the notice was signed and in June I took a leap of faith and left my full time clinical post. I still work a few days a week in the NHS. I think it's vital for any clinician who works in media or technological mental health, or who provides private therapy, to be tuned in to the challenges and advancements in our health service. However now my primary role is the one I love, working with real people in the real world. The adventure has begun...