Andrea's an inspiration!

*Andrea is pictured doing improvisation in an acting class with a friend

Andrea Waite works for the District Nurse service as a community staff nurse and is part of the North Hub and work with Plane Trees District nurses.

Like many people she has been through some tough times and thanks her team  at work for all the support they have given her and she also reckons a return to acting has also been key to recovering from troubling times. 

And now she wants to share her story as it may help others who are struggling with stress or depression. Also CHFT offers support see below for how to access it.

Andrea is a mother of three grown up children with two granddaughters and recently went through a bad time which she blames on the onset of the menopause. 

She says: "I found it hard to just get out of bed and get dressed never mind walking out the front door. This was so unlike me as I normally carry on no matter what life throws at me despite having had a lack of confidence in myself and my abilities. I went to the GP who gave me some medication but I knew that this could not be a long term solution for me."

Her son suggested she maybe needed to do something for herself outside work and family commitments, so she pursued a schoolday love of acting and enrolled at a class..

She adds: " I was hooked I have now been attending acting classes* for over a year and so much has changed. I am happier and I have so much more confidence. I was a dinner lady in the new series of Ackley Bridge and even featured in the trailer."

She has also started doing stand-up comedy and last month performed in front of 300 people at the Wardrobe in Leeds as part of Ultra Comedy raising money for Cancer Research.

She says: " All this has helped me with my confidence and not only have my family noticed but so have my work colleagues and the people I go to see. When I visit regular patients my acting is nearly always a talking point and one lady watched Ackley Bridge for the first time just to see me and now loves the programme. She said "I tell all my friends and family I have a famous nurse" This may be stretching the truth but it makes her happy."

Well done Andrea!


** If you are struggling like Andrea did, then be reassured there is also help and support provided here at CHFT where support is available for colleagues. Just look in the Cupboard here.

Our Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Christine Bouckley, said "This is a fantastic story and shows how with some support and encouragement people can do amazing things!

"For some people, depression can mean some extremely difficult and frightening thoughts or behaviours, and finding the right place to share these with an understanding ear can be life saving. 

"There's always someone to talk to at CHFT if you need a little support or a friendly ear - often the hardest thing is asking for help in the first instance, and we have colleagues on-hand who can help.

You can also see our intranet pages for advice on managing mental health.

The OH team are happy to listen impartially and offer support and guidance on care pathways; including self help material, mindfulness or the staff counselling team. The chaplaincy team are also there for colleagues, and many have additional skills in supporting mental health.

We run a 2 day mental health first aid course at CHFT to train First -aiders specifically for supporting people experiencing mental ill health so you may have one near to you in you workplace; or if you're interested in becoming a mental health first aider you can book onto the course through the training team at Acre Mills.

**If you are are struggling with mental ill health and need urgent help in managing these thoughts, you can access the crisis team through the A&E Department or the single point of access on 01924 316830