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Help in a crisis
Helen's story


Helen Symonds was inspired to take up learning disability (LD) nursing after spending fun-filled holidays during her youth with children with LD. And although she no longer specialises in the field, she still describes caring for people with learning disabilities as her passion.

Helen trained as a learning disability nurse in 1998 and spent the next 16 years working in a variety of settings, including a group home and assessment and treatment unit, before moving to CAMHS in Peterborough to support young people with challenging behaviour.

Now a Psychological Therapist with Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, based in King’s Lynn, she continues to play a role in helping improve care for people with LD by volunteering as one of NSFT’s Green Light Champions.

“When I was younger I worked for the Red Cross and we would take children with LD away each year on holiday,” said Helen. “It was so much fun and the reason I chose learning disabilities as my career.

“People with LD don’t have any inhibitions and have a really lovely way of looking at the world which differs to those without LD. They always treat others with respect – to them, it’s not important what colour your hair is or if you have the latest trainers, which I find really refreshing.

“I have kept my passion for LD going by signing up as a Green Light Champion. I want to play a part in further improving the Wellbeing Service for people with LD by making sure they can access the service in the same way as everyone else.

“My experiences as an LD nurse have helped in my current role as I feel I’m able to meet the needs of people from all walks of life and can hopefully help empower them to better mental health. It's definitely a career path I’d recommend.” 

To read more about Learning Disability Nursing, click here.