Me, Myself and I: Why I Chose Mental Health Nursing

Mervyn King

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

29 June 2018

I developed a greater appreciation of Mental Health when I served eight years in the British Army's Royal Artillery Regiment, as a Signaller/Driver attached to the front-line Trauma Risk Management team.

As well as helping to set up information technology systems and driving important dignitaries, I worked closely with the team that handled looking after army personnel in an operational environment in which they were more likely to experience a variety of stresses that might lead into Mental Health issues like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

My firsthand experiences in the Army gave me an invaluable insight and practical understanding of the challenges faced by both professionals and patients dealing with Mental Health issues, especially, in a highly charged environment. When not on operational tours, during weekends I used to volunteer as a mentor and role model for the charity organisation Young Minds, which also works in partnership with the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The great emotional satisfaction derived from helping troubled young people achieve some equilibrium and purpose to their day to day living made an enormous difference to my personal development. My experience with this organisation made me decide to pursue a career in Mental Health Nursing.

I have a lot of interest in helping break down stigmas and barriers through facts that provide a better understanding of patterns in mental health and its causes as well as offering solutions for prevention. Having the skills that can positively impact people of all ages, race, class and religion, makes Mental Health support work a hugely rewarding and a very attractive career prospect.

To help me prepare for my chosen career path, my current course at Anglia Ruskin University gives me hugely invaluable academic insight as well as clinical experience including confidence in working and effectively communicating with patients, visitors, and different professionals in a clinical care setting. I also, on occasion, volunteer with the YMCA Basildon SOS bus, which operates mainly during weekends and festive periods. The volunteer role involves promoting awareness of drug and alcohol misuse and other health related issues. It also includes looking after and providing support as well as safety to vulnerable people at night, and, to help in reducing antisocial behavior that might be caused by drugs and alcohol misuse. Working on the SOS bus will help me get a wider and in-depth understanding of the effects of substance misuse in the community in general and Mental Health in particular.

I was also a "games maker" volunteer during the London 2012 Olympics, where my key role was to drive important dignitaries to various venues in and around London. All the above demonstrate my ability to work and communicate with people of all ages and classes in society which is helpful if you want to apply for nursing. In addition all the above make evident my strength of character, emotional resilience plus a firmness of purpose and desire to help and learn from the community around me.

When I am not working or volunteering, I am a keen reader of science fiction books. I also enjoy travelling and learning new languages and cultures. I have travelled to places like Turkey, Germany, South Africa, Spain, and Mexico. I also enjoy cooking. I love staying physically fit, and I regularly go to the gym. I also play five a side football with my local team.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.