Helen Kelsall, clinical service manager
Helen was one of the staff members in MHOAD who was pivotal in helping the older adults film go ahead. She liaised between staff and production crew to ensure the staff and patients were happy with all aspects of filming. She is a nurse by profession and has worked in her current role for 18 months.
“I think I have experienced a major transformation during the making of this film. At the start I really wasn’t sure about any media work. However, the way the producers operated made me feel really differently about it. My perceptions have totally changed now. They were very considered about how they worked with staff, they engaged with patients and they put patients first and foremost in everything they did which is what we do here at SLaM.
There is a real misconception out there about mental illness in older adults. People think it’s all about dementia and also that as you get old your recovery and quality of life is diminished. Our view is that recovery is central to everything we do. We all hold the belief that anyone can recover from a mental illness, whatever their age, gender or background, and we do what we can to get them there.
At SLaM it is not just about the care on a ward, it is about continuing to look after somebody in the community and taking care of other aspects of their life, using things such as a drama therapy.
The patients in the older adult wards are vulnerable but they seemed keen to appear in a film and it was great to see the interaction between them and the producers. We are quite protective of our patients and they need time and space to recover, it was essential that the cameras being there did not hinder this in any way and it didn’t.
This was definitely a positive lesson in risk taking.”