Currently on Island is Locum Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN), Claire Day (photo attached). Claire arrived on Monday 7 July 2014 and is here on a three month contract working with the medical team to provide psychiatric services on the Island, while a longer term CPN is being recruited.
As the CPN Claire’s role covers all age ranges and types of mental health problems.
“These problems can be emotional difficulties that people of all ages are having – from children that may have issues through to teenagers and adults or older people that might be suffering from memory loss or similar problems.”
During her first week on the Island Claire has been meeting with doctors, health workers and other professionals within the different settings that she will be working in over the next three months. She has begun to see longer term patients and will continue to conduct hospital appointments and make home visits to those needing her support.
Claire will be working closely with Social Services staff, Island schools, Community Nurses, Police and staff from other units on the Island such as the Community Care Complex.
Claire explains the importance of having a CPN on St Helena:
“Mental health is an area of healthcare that doesn’t receive a lot of the limelight. There is a problem with people admitting they may have mental health problems or seeking support – so I think it’s very important to have a CPN on the Island, to educate people and to let them know what the warning signs are. The sooner the problem gets to us the better the outcomes are and the more effective their treatment is going to be.”
There are a huge range of different illnesses covered by the term ‘Psychiatric’, Claire added:
“There are people who have trouble with the many different types of anxiety, there are those who have low mood or depression when it becomes more of an illness, there are phobias or fears that are quite irrational, illnesses where people hear or see things that other people can’t. Into older age, there’s dementia that can affect people and also there are those on St Helena with learning disabilities.”
Claire’s role is to support people who might be suffering from any of these types of illnesses.
During her time on St Helena, Claire is personally hoping to learn more about the Island and the lifestyle and culture of Saints. Professionally, Claire will be drawing on her UK experience to make the service offered on St Helena more effective in providing care for those who might need it.
15 July 2014