Mandy Kirby, Community Perinatal Mental Health Nurse
The Trust’s Community Perinatal Mental Health Service was officially launched last September but Mandy Kirby has worked as a community perinatal mental health nurse, covering the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area, for the past four years.
“I got into nursing late, qualifying at the age of 37 after my children had started school, but it was always something that I’d wanted to do. However, when I was young I lived in a very rural area and there was no public transport into Norwich, meaning I couldn’t attend a nursing course, so I did other things, such as qualifying as a hair-dresser.
“As a result of something that I experienced personally after the birth of my first child, I developed an interest in perinatal mental health nursing.
“I’ve spent my entire 10 year nursing career working for NSFT and have had a number of different roles, including working in a psychiatric intensive care unit and at Blundeston Prison, but my real passion is for perinatal mental health nursing.
“This developed through my time working with The Parent Infant Mental Health Attachment Project [PIMHAP] and working closely alongside Dr Somayya Kajee, a consultant psychiatrist who also had a specialist interest in perinatal mental health.
“Due to our passion and commitment and with support from the Trust, we were able to work with pregnant women in the Yarmouth and Waveney area until a specialist team was developed.
“I work with and support mothers throughout their pregnancy and up to the point when their child is one-year-old. These women can have conditions such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, OCD and other mental illnesses.
“Having a Community Perinatal Mental Health Service in Norfolk and Waveney means we’re able to provide the very specialist care which these women need to go on and enjoy a healthy, happy life with their new baby.
“The service was developed in partnership with partners across the NHS, including the maternity services at Norfolk’s three acute hospitals, Cambridgeshire Community Trust which provides health visiting services and nursery nurses, service users and the support group Get Me Out The Four Walls.
“My greatest strength is engaging with people who are difficult to engage with and building up a relationship with them. What I enjoy the most about my job is the direct patient contact. However, I’m keen to develop my skills and have been training to become a non-medical prescriber.
“I’m also involved in training colleagues who work in our recovery and crisis teams, and enjoy the multi-agency aspect of my role. I work closely with the Eden Team of specialist midwives from the James Paget Hospital, lecture to student midwives at the UEA and liaise closely with health visitors.”