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Meet our wellbeing champion, Marie

"Helping others helps me"

Marie Richardson joined Derby Private Health three years ago as part of the Domestics team but having always wanted to get into care became the first to complete a Healthcare Assistant apprenticeship on the unit.

We met with Marie to find out more about her experience working for Derby Private Health during the Covid-19 pandemic and also her role as Wellbeing Champion.

“I was redeployed to the Surgical Assessment Unit during the first wave of COVID-19 when Derby Private Health was temporarily closed.

“At the time they had sufficient cover for HCAs so I learnt new skills very rapidly helping on reception, portering and housekeeping. I just wanted to help in any way that I could.

“I unfortunately contracted coronavirus in September and having been quite unwell was away from work for a month. Going through it made me really understand that feeling of isolation and the impact it has to your mental health.

“I felt well supported on my return to work but COVID changed my view on a lot of things. I’ve always been into positive mental health and having seen first-hand how staff worked together in difficult circumstances I wanted to do what I could to help longer term.

“I’d already put myself forward as a Wellbeing Champion and on my return to work the programme was being revamped so I threw myself into it – to say I’m passionate about it would be an understatement!

“We’re here to care for patients but being a Wellbeing Champion provides time to also focus on staff. I make sure the team are drinking plenty of water and taking their breaks. I’m here to just listen if needed and can direct staff to helpful resources. We have a wellbeing board in the staff room and I cascade as much information as I can to the team.

“I’ve also completed food and nutrition courses and I’m training to be a Mental Health First Aider in January.

“Helping others helps me – I’ve got so many ideas for different ways of looking after our staff. I’ve recently set up a Facebook group for staff that focuses on positive mental health and physical wellbeing. We’ve already got over 100 members which is really exciting – I only expected a few to join but it keeps on growing and everyone is sharing what they’re doing to help their mental health and physical wellbeing.

“This is just the beginning of our wellbeing activity and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.”