Alex Penfold on Youth Mental Health Day 2023: Insights from a Mental Health Nurse and...
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Nursing Studies (2 modules), DipHE Mental Health Nursing, PGDip Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
I qualified as a mental health nurse in 1998. I have extensive clinical experience at a senior level working within the NHS and have worked in a variety of mental health areas including forensic mental health. These have enhanced my clinical skills and knowledge base. I have vast experience in risk assessment and devising robust risk management plans; these skills can be transferable from a community setting to an in-patient environment.
My first post after qualifying was within a medium secure unit caring for patients subject to section 37 hospital orders or section 41 with home office restrictions. I then transferred to the community and worked in various services including prison in-reach and substance misuse. More recently following a career break, I have developed specialisms in the management of substance misuse, young adolescent mental health and neurodevelopment conditions such as ADHD and ASD and more recently dialectical behaviour therapy.
In my current role I work as a Psychological Therapist in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy with adults diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder (formerly known as borderline personality disorder). This diagnosis can cause individuals to have difficulties with emotional regulation and be at high risk of suicide and self harm. I provide adherent Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), 1-1 psychotherapy sessions and group therapy; I also provide DBT telephone skills coaching to enable generalisation of skills.
I have a sound working knowledge of the Mental Health Act 1983, Mental Capacity Act 2005 and forensic sections. I also have experience in safeguarding and ensuring processes are put in place within a timely manner. I have effective communication skills, both verbal and non verbal and possess the ability to critique and analyse all arguments and viewpoints that are presented to formulate a clear plan and opinion with proposed actions and recommendations.
In March 2020 I completed my foundational training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and in August 2021 my intensive training. In July 2023 I graduated with a post graduate diploma in dialectical behaviour therapy from Bangor University. I am also now an accredited DBT therapist with the society for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. In addition, I have a good understanding of NHS processes and policies and I have extensive working knowledge of CPA and care, education treatment plans for individuals. These are part of NHS England's commitment to transforming mental health services. During my time practising within the drug and alcohol team I was required to provide oral evidence in Court.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.