My role models have always been nurses. When in hospital wards visiting family members or even on hospital placement, where I have completed over 500 hours, my attention has always been on the nurses, admiring their amazing work ethic and their ability to change someone’s life for the better, this is when I decided that I belonged in this profession. I am passionate about mental health as I have personal experience of witnessing and overcoming these issues. To this day, many still feel too uncomfortable to talk about it and I want to change that. For a long time, I was often in denial about my own struggles with mental health problems and have refused help because I could not accept my diagnosis. I convinced myself that ‘others had it worse’; this mind-set eventually made my condition deteriorate without me realising. As a result, I now advocate that my friends discuss it just like a physical ailment so that their struggles feel as valid as a broken leg or an infected wound; it is a wound in their mind. This course will cover public and population health which means I make sure I am kept abreast of the latest news and studies that come about mental health. One shocking article I stumbled upon was one published by The Guardian which was titles ‘More than 60 children a day calling Childline with suicidal thoughts’ However, what shocked me the most was reading that More than 2,000 young people who called the helpline were considered “actively suicidal” taking initial steps to end their own lives’ and that ‘the youngest child actively planning suicide was 12’ which the article further states that there has been a 15% rise from the previous years. This shows clearly how mental health issues are becoming more and more prevalent in our society and that they need to be taken seriously and addressed by having more awareness about mental illnesses advocated as well as more support for young people as our struggles are often brushed off as ‘just a phase’ as well as blamed on puberty and hormones. Over the past few years, there have been many news articles illustrating the fact that the NHS in particular has been struggling both in general and in the mental health aspects of it; news such cuts to the spending spent on the mental health services to A&E departments being shut down and staff leaving shows how many service users of the mental health services both young and elderly may feel that they are being failed by the system. For example, an article published by Independent titled ‘A third of NHS children’s health services ‘face cuts or closure’ where as many as 3,000 mental healthcare professionals filled out a survey for a study, the article states that 84% of these professionals ‘said that it has become more difficult for children to access the help they need. With children now required to have severe levels of illness in order to get help’. From my perspective, I think this is extremely dangerous as not everyone is willingly to get help and when one begins to deteriorate which how the services in the nation are going down, the last thing they think about is getting help and this is one of the things we need to change.I can bring a number of skills to the course. I have both leadership and teamwork skills, developed by doing NCS in 2015. I consider that I have strong writing skills as well as good time management. I am a carer for two younger siblings, one of whom has additional needs, including high-spectrum autism. I wake up early to get my little brother ready. This can be a challenge, as he gets frustrated easily but also because I need to get to college on time and have to take two buses. I also work in McDonald’s part-time where I have many responsibilities, including being a trainer and managing stock which can be quite challenging. It is a dynamic environment and flexibility is essential; I am constantly changing stations and job roles. I have become adept at anticipating our customers’ needs, often by analysing their body language and facial expressions. This enables me to react in the most professional way and provide the best customer service. It has greatly enhanced my communication skills, which are also constantly improved by both presenting work in college and building relationships with patients at Milton Keynes University College Hospital where I do my placement. Regardless of my surroundings, I maintain a positive attitude that I use to uplift others. I am self-motivated and generally even-tempered which are assets in a hospital environment where people can be facing extremely challenging situations. In addition, I am a good listener and very people-orientated. I strive to empower others at both my placement and job. For example, if I have a customer who used crutches, I insist that they sit down so that I could prioritise their order. In the same way, I am assertive of people’s rights, equality and diversity. It is important to treat everyone with dignity and respect, even if they seem difficult. My course, Heath & Social Care Level 3 Extended Diploma, has taught me about the nine protected characteristics of equality as well as a huge amount about how to avoid any discriminatory practices in healthcare. I believe the six C’s of nursing are vital professional assets. My personal experience and empathy will help me with these, especially care and compassion. I am committed to helping individuals lead more comfortable, hopeful and happier lives. A good example of this is when I was in Brighton with a friend last year and we came across many homeless people. I regularly donate money to the homeless but on this occasion, I had no change left, so instead we bought blankets from Primark for them. Being a mental health service-user, I understand first-hand that the importance of compassion and believe these qualities will make me a successful mental health nurse.