Understanding lived experience within mental health field- depression Academic Essay


Beverley Callard personal experience

Beverly Callard is a perfect example of a person living with depression. Featuring in Coronation Street playing the role of barmaid put her situation at the glare of publicity. Coronation Street is viewed by many on television and Beverly is most admired by fans basing oh her role of Liz McDonald in the soap. According to Piers Morgan’s Life Stories show that came on air in 2014, Beverly was once interviewed about her struggle with depression. The show reveals that Beverly had been through a massive financial crisis in 2008 when two pub businesses she and her husband managed collapsed leaving her with a considerable amount of debt. Following this problem, the Coronation actress broke down in her dressing room at work and was found to have suffered clinical depression.

In understanding the situations of depression, the victims are advised to open up and share their lived experiences without fear of how people will perceive them (Bradstreet, 2006, p.17). Beverly Callard is lucky to have found Coronation Street where she uses it as a platform to broadcast her experiences. Her genuine evaluation of her mental health resulted in some parts of the soap plots being left out so as to accommodate her needs (Daily Star, 2014, p.27). Following her continued depression Beverly got a sign off for two weeks by her employers. This was aimed at exempting her from attending the burial of her co-worker which would have totally made her mental illness worsen (Daily Mail Online, 2014, p.24). Other scenes placed aside include the part where Liz was expected to engage in a fight with Jason Grimshaw, performed by Ryan Thomas. This was done deliberately to avoid Berverley’s involvement in the scene which would have otherwise tormented her mentally. However, these changes have been taken positively by both show bosses and actors since Beverly’s tragedy has been accepted and everyone wishes her quick recovery and return into Coronary Street. (Daily Mail Online, 2014, p.25).

Further, the actress has been given time off for two months to allow her deal with her problem away from work. The Sun reported that Coronation bosses sent her home to battle her depression after she was taken ill 10 days prior the report. This is seen to have happened following the demise of Anne Kilbride that left her completely devastated. To aID on this, her anti-depression drugs were discontinued after her physicians came to the conclusion that they are not making good money out of the drugs. Beverley together with her doctors is currently in search of alternatives for her drugs that were stopped. (Daily Star, 2014, p.26).This attracted the attention of Beverley’s fans with one of the fan referring to the ‘good old ways’ where health practitioners were focused on ensuring patients recovered rather than having greed for money (Mirror Online, 2014, p.23). Beverley did not get a chance to be at the film burial of her best colleague. According to The Observer’s obituaries of 2015 has it in Guardian Online that the suIDen death of Anne Kirkbride is still fresh in Beverley’s mind, and she seems to miss her miss a lot. It is, therefore, worth noting that Beverley has had to deal with depression and has more frequently been ordered off from Coronation Street. The 59-year old actress reassured her fans that though her recent off lasted two months, she was under medication and hoped to make a quick comeback into Coronation Street. According to a report by the Daily Star, Coronation bosses are planning on accepting her back into acting.

Mirror has it that Beverley Callard is back in Coronation Street with her bosses making sure she is out of pressure at all times while at work. Beverley is seen to have learnt to cope with her illness and openly shares her experience with the Mirror. She aIDs that at first she had opted to keep her problem a secret since no one was aware of it at the time. An insider told Mirror that Beverley’s producers are happy about the changes in her condition and that the scriptwriters have adjusted their work to fit the incoming actress.

Support and help available

Persons with experiences of depression can only get better with adequate support and help. Soap star Beverley Callard refers to depression as “the strong curse” especially after the experience she was subjected to when undergoing electroconvulsive therapy. Callard revealed her experience To BBC during the in The Mind session. Beverley did not believe she would fall victim to depression since she considered herself a strong person. According to Beverley, depressed persons tend to remedy themselves on their own thus delaying their treatment. Following this, she had to be administered with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) since her condition was far beyond use of anti-depressants. NHS England is dedicated to granting £1b extra to the support of depressed people by 2020.Beverley however is not of the idea of taking patients far from their homes. NHS seeks to look into this issue by 2021. Beverley is keen o thank her fans and co-workers for their kind support while she continues to deal with her mental illness. This is as a result of the good messages sent to her. She also praises her colleagues by mentioning that,”My chums at work are amazing” (@Beverleycallard) April 3, 2016. Beverley who was taken ill in 2009 is seen to be adversely supported particularly by her Coronation producers and her doctors. While her medication was stopped, she was given time off from filming and her medical team striving to provide her an alternative drug for her illness. Beverley Callard’s husband is depicted as a totally supportive person considering the fact that he enrolled in a night school just so to familiarize himself with his wife’s mental illness.

BBC has highlighted several people with lived experiences and how they have contributed in helping those with mental illness. Currently, there are multiple Mind Ambassadors concerned with creating awareness on mental health issues. Alastair Campbell widely known as Tony Blair’s Director of Communications has compiled his two books, All In The Mind and The Happy Depressive all featuring his experience of depression. He had shown his support for mentally ill by campaigning against discrimination of the mentally ill. Philip Idowu an international triple jumper for both England and Britain contributes towards Mind’s fundraising work and has helped Time To Change manage the events of World Mental Health Day. Other celebrities include Denise Welch, a British actress and presenter shares her post-natal depression, after the delivery of her elder son. Later on she is seen to have fought with recurrent sessions for close to 24 years. Denise’s close friends and family helped her cope with the depression while she recovered. Beverley Callard also appears in the list of celebrities in support to Mind through her involvement in Time To Change’s Time To Talk Day in 2014 and 2015. This issue of depression of part of Beverley considering the fact that she has had to live with this experience. Beverley has done a lot in creating awareness of mental through social media particularly in ITV’s Coronation film. Frankie Bridge who is part of girl band, The Saturdays has also volunteered in supporting Mind following her lived experience of anxiety, depression and panic attacks in May 2012. Frankie admits that she suffered depression in silence with no one having the consent of her illness. In her role of being Mind Ambassador she hopes for persons with depression to be supported so they do not keep their problems unknown but rather spoken out.

In the U.K specifically, all nurses are registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council that spells out codes of conduct, training, and learning within which nurses are expected to be conversant with. Such nurses will be in a better position to deal with mental illness since they have been trained adequately in cognitive behavior therapies.


NHS provides a range of anti-depressants for patients with clinical depression so as to minimize the chances of recurrence. Beverley Callard in her recent interview says that she continues to use her daily anti-depressants and has learnt to live on drugs. Beverley has had too, many experiences throughout her medication sessions. In a tweet she mentions her medical was once stopped by the pharmaceutical company due to financial reasons (@Beverleycallard, March 30, 20160). Beverley went on to tell Piers Morgan’s Stories show that the electroconvulsive therapy affected her short term memory. According to Stephen Buckley head of information for MIND, a series of therapies are effective in the treatment of clinical depression. Nicholas Pinnock, an actor first encountered depression at a tender age but on most occasions assumed it to be teenage moods. Later on in his life, he was diagnosed with clinical depression and immediately underwent psychotherapy I a bid to treat his illness. Therapies are actually the best solution for dealing with depression other than anti-depressants. Beverley’s mental depression has led to the reflection of other celebrities lived experiences and how they were able to access treatment. Cara Delevingne, a fashion star has openly revealed her battle with depression and her frequent offs from the modeling scenes. In a recent tweet, Cara admits that she at one point she hated herself for her mental illness, (Caradelevingne April 1, 2016, p.16). According to John Green, he takes medication like several other depressed persons. He goes on to say that treating mental illness should be done without any discrimination involved. Ellie Goulding also points out that she had problems going in for cognitive behavioral therapies until when her career was affected in that she could not leave the house due to the suIDen panic attacks she experienced. Mail Online has it that many celebrities have been labeled bipolar forcing them to be on “zombie’’ pills. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stephen Fry have admitted being victims of bipolar. The U.K pharmaceutical companies are reaping profits from the extensive use of antipsychotics which include Zyprexa and Seroquel with close to 8 million persons getting prescriptions. However these bipolar drugs come with side effects. This is because the drugs have been recommended for preventing the prevalence of the lived condition in young persons considered at risk and to the aged suffering dementia. In an old asylum in the U.K, bipolar drugs consumed by inmates seemed to have affected majority of the inmates in that the way they behaved was not normal in any way. The editor of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry has termed the disadvantages of bipolar medication as “bipolar imperialism” while Robert Whitaker, journalist aIDs that the origin of antipsychotics is full of greed and is widely killing the American population. Luckily, there are alternatives to the drugs offered. Therapy is considered the only best alternative to antipsychotics. There are also some short term medications for such illness though circumstance of the patient has to be taken into consideration. Long-term drugs for lived experience are significant in minimizing the systems attached to the attack of schizophrenia and classic mania. However, it is worth noting that the effects of long term medication are uncertain and not quite reliable. Persons with lived experiences are therefore urged to be keen to enquire the side effects of antipsychotics before being prescribed to them.

Beverley Callard, told This Morning on Wednesday that her friend Denise Welch saved her situation by recommending her a London doctor. Beverley sadly mentions that another consultant considered her an idiot when she went to seek medication. Beverly says that her discontinued drug left her feeling quite miserable. At the age of 32, Beverley experienced a hysterectomy problem as a result of the chemical reactions of the anti-depressants considering she is also undertaking HRT.

Stigma attached to clinical depression

Often, people like Beverley experiencing clinical depression are treated unfairly by those around them. Beverley admits that her own friends abandoned her once they learnt of her depression. On one occasion in 2009, she was made to take a break from her role in Coronation Street after going into The Priory for depression. Stigma is regarded as one of the factors that worsen depression. According to Surgeon General and the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, the attitude of nurses towards clinical depression has a great impact on its treatment. Nursing Midwifery Council calls for employers to understand employees with clinical depression. Beverley faced acute stigma at her place of work and forced to take several offs. According to NMC, nurses with depression are allowed to go on with their duties whenever they can. NMC is at the forefront in helping women with depression cope with the stigma attached to their depression.

Research shows that 64% of people have the norm that stigma is more disturbing than the live mental problem at hand (Milbourn, McNamara & Buchanan, 2014, p.27). The campaign aimed at sparing at least five minutes on frequent occasions to talk and listen to mentally challenged victims rather than taking too long before (Pashley, 1992, p. 19). However, speaking of Stigma does not just go unnoticed by many people; it heavily affects the lives of mentally disturbed persons. According to Corrigan (2009), ‘it diminishes self-esteem and robs people of social opportunities’. Further, stigma takes away the confidence of depressed persons in that they become reserved and feel left out by those around them (Rogers & Pilgrim, 2001, p.12).

According to The Guardian online, mental stigma is still rooted in our society and depicts itself in different kinds calling for understanding by everyone. Elizabeth Day wrote an article seeking to inquire the existence of stigma and challenge her readers by asking what stigma really means. The Mental Health Foundation has it that mental illness affects at least 4 people in the course of their lives. The foundation also portrays the death of Robin William as an opening forum particularly in the media concerning depression considering William’s death was based on mental illness. There are quite a number of stigmas and a variety of approaches are essential in dealing with them. Psychological Medicine, Sarah Clement and her co workers from King’s College London came up with a publication on the various types of stigma revolving around mental illness. Among the categories of stigma are anticipated stigma where persons with lived experiences fear the way others will perceive them. Treatment stigma refers to one where patients are concerned of the thoughts of medical personnel on them. In aIDition, there is the internalized stigma which makes depressed persons isolate themselves from other people.

The issues revolving mental stigma have quite a number of consequences. There is need to devise ways to correct the challenge of stigma on the mentally ill. However, it is very difficult to completely do away with stigma though efforts to minimize them are ongoing. A number of celebrities are trying to cope with stigma attached to lived experience by standing up and sharing their depression experiences. Adam Levine is a victim of Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).Adam says this problem affected him in high school and the isolation he faces does not come by surprise. Demi Lovato has also been brave to talk about her bipolar problem in the hope that she would get help and at the same time inspire other persons with lived experiences cope with their situations. Further, Wil Wheaton, a victim of Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder overcame the stigma attached to him and other patients by enlightening people on the need to realize that they are not the only people suffering the illness.

Engaging lived experiences

Recently, the inclusion of service users in health consideration particularly mental health has been widely adopted globally (Benson &Thistlethwaite, 2009, p.27). Service user engagement has proven quite of essence among depressed persons since it reduces the danger of opting for substance and drug abuse, contracting HIV and HVC (Hinshaw, 2008, p. 45). Peer sessions at the community level in UK have made huge progress in minimizing the risk behaviors that result in drug aIDiction among mentally disturbed people. According to a report by Francis Web (2013), on the inquiry of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry, service users are seen to be neglected and not given the proper attention they need for their recovery process. The reports display the level to which caregivers are barred from pronouncing problems in the health facility. Basing on Francis’ ideology, ‘The culture of the Trust was not conducive to providing a supportive environment for staff. This completely changed the attitude of patients in that they went silent and never argued with medical personnel on the quality of service they needed due to the fear instilled by the Trust NHS (Rippere& Williams, 1985, p. 40). In other publications, he termed the culture of NHS as one that neglects the welfare of patients. In that case, the mentally depressed in a bid to prioritize the organ’s objectives and which later provoked him to mention it as ‘unacceptable standards of performance’.

Francis’ report includes complaints posed by various service users of the Mid Staffordshire Trust NHS and their concerned families. This was in conjunction with the inadequate medical attention depressed persons living with experiences (Pilgrim & Rogers, 2005, p.35). Those individuals who visited the institution reported that they were not given an opportunity to share their lived experiences. Instead, medical personnel cared more about the inflow of patients rather than conveying the experiences of service users to the associated administration for efficient service delivery. According to the report, it is very vital to engage service users particularly those served by the Trust to be frequently talked to know exactly what they expect and their opinions about the services offered. Therefore, proper services should be provided at all levels of the organization. A conclusion was arrived at that all service providers must be conversant with current situations of their customers to encourage their quick recovery.

The recent services offered to mentally challenged people by nurses worldwide have proven quite weak (Benson &Thistlethwaite, 2009, p.42). This calls for compassion to be expressed towards the patients while providing them support. Compassion is a major theme in the article presented in the media. By showing empathy to mentally ill, the psychological need is said to be in the process of being attained (Smith, 2000, p. 28). According to the department of health of 2012, notably, in the NHS, a report regarding mental health was compiled on the treatment offered to mentally ill persons by nurses (“UK – Department of Health – more choice for better mental health,” 2007, p. 32).

Compassion in Practice is a campaign that came in place after nurses collaborated with NHS Choices across England. This was scheduled to be a three-year campaign and was aimed at achieving the best care to service users (Gilbert, 2008, p. 22). Compassion in Practice would not function quite efficiently if it were not for the inclusion of values of care, competence, communication, courage and commitment. Adoption of the ‘6Cs’ by both nurses would ensure mentally challenged people are well catered (Edelmann, 2003, p.14).

Compassion depends on individual factors whether social or psychological (Gilbert, 2008, p.24). In a case conducted on patients in an emergency room, it is clear that most people need just a caring person to talk to and share their depressing experiences such as homelessness. In response, empathic caregivers have been trained to listen to the stories of their service users and offer solutions where they can (Morris, 2006, p.27). Men have been reported to depict more deaths related to depression since much of the compassion has been shifted to women leaving out men to suffer on their own. Clinical compassion is significant in minimizing health complications associated with depression and enhancing quick mental stability among patients (Pilgrim & Rogers, 2005, p.35). Further, compassionate treatment of mentally ill persons is important in establishing patient-care provider relations regarding sharing experiences.

Carl Rogers (2000) will be remembered in medical departments particularly in America for his efforts in aIDressing the problem of lived mental experiences. Carl was an outstanding psychologist and took part in laying the foundation of the humanist approach to psychology. He is associated with upholding the practice of “unconditional positive regard”, which asserted that no one is to be judged according to his worth (Stickley& Basset, 2008, p. 17). Rogers’ theory of 1951 includes 19 principles that were aimed at helping out the mentally challenged persons come out of their disturbing situation. In creating awareness and understanding about mental health problems, Rogers’ perspective would work. The current generation is on the negative path when it comes to treating people around them. Majorly, service providers have adopted the norm of offering services to customers by looking into their worth.

While engaging lived experiences, Rodgers recommends positive regard of the mentally ill among people. This can be done by showing love, affection and tolerating the sick to assure them that they are still part of the society regardless. To aID on that, the victims involved have to respond by maintaining positive self-regard by upholding their self-esteem, so they do not have to feel isolated.

Therapy is the best solution for the lived experiences in the society. Still Rogers made a contribution towards improving the quality of therapy services availed to customers. Initially, he proposed for the service to be referred to as non-directive and later client-centered. This was so because he wanted to make it known that patients had the right to be consulted on their issues and what form of treatment they prefer (“College Mental Health Practice,” 2006, p. 12). Today, the therapy is known as the “Rodgers therapy (Rogers, 1970, p.29).” Several clinics worldwide have incorporated Rodgers’ version of performing therapy and are doing quite well boosting the mental health sector. Reflection is a core value when engaging persons with lived mental experiences. This can be done by responding to what clients say despite the fact that they do not mean what they speak. According to Rodgers, a therapist must be genuine, empathic and most of all accept to deal with mentally depressed persons at any time. Personhood is an important aspect of determining the state of a person particularly the boundaries of which one relates to those around them.

According to Tom Kitwood (2008),every living person regardless the situations is to be treated with unconditional respect since being a person is a special feature accorded to everyone. Kitwood further availed a deep model of dementia which seeks to enlighten people on the relationship between neurological loss and the mental condition of individual possessing dementia inclusive of social factors. He campaigned for the respect of persons with dementia with the aim of safeguarding the loss of their personhood.

Beverley is one of the victims who would have otherwise lost her inner being had it not been her act of sharing her experience on social media (“Coronation Street’s Beverley Callard ‘taking time off’ – BBC News,” n.d.). AIDitionally, her situation was aIDressed considering her colleagues who treated her with respect and at any point never blamed her. Tom Kitwood (2004) developed his idea of personhood with reference to German philosopher Martin Buber. The key aspect in engaging lived experiences is the establishment of service user-care relationship between the patients and caregivers. Dr. Peplau mentioned that such relationship was vital for the nursing career. It is expected that a nurse takes time to listen to the patient’s problem, interpret the whole issue then consults with the same patient on whether the inference reached at is correct. By doing this, mentally depressed persons will recover progressively by coping with their day to day experiences (Basavanthappa, 2007, p. 15). Peplau is seen to have clearly analyzed nurse-client relationship as one dependent on stages which include the oriental phase, identification phase, exploitation phase and finally the resolution phase where the patient can manage his/her mental situation.


As a nursing student, this whole study of lived mental experiences will greatly impact on my current ongoing studies and future practice. The narrative of the first person lived experiences further provides me with a wider knowledge for nursing on how depression affects the normal life situations of victims, families, colleagues and caregivers at large. I have learnt that Grounded theory is quite effective in creating awareness and understanding of lived experiences. As such, I have comprehended that this approach is paramount for mentors to make use of first-person cases such as that of Beverley Callard’s problem. This would enable me to develop the skill of interpreting the lived depression. The fact that these narratives are given in bits will give me confidence of engaging with persons possessing dementia in the future. It is quite evident that dementia lessons offered in my nursing classes aID up to the expected practice of person-centered therapy and compassionate-care for the mentally disturbed. Upon engaging lived mental experiences, the subject of depression will greatly help me in the development of my future nursing practice. This is because at this early stage of learning it is relatively clear that nursing students all over are taught on the need to help depressed persons living independent lives far from daily caregivers. Through these lessons I have learnt ways of ensuring the general welfare of clients and working towards advancing the quality of health services I will at one point deliver to patients. This can be made possible through the inclusion of the 6Cs in the medical departments.


From the study on lived mental experiences, it can be noted that medical personnel who wish to offer the best medical care to persons with dementia must learn to establish a client-care relationship, particularly in therapy sessions. While delivering therapy services to consumers, I have mastered that compassionate attention is very necessary for the depressed. Failure to consider this aspect results in patients feeling helpless, isolated and even resorting to suicidal acts. Both present and future nurses in practice are expected by the department of health to be competent in the provision of their medical services to patients. It is, therefore, required that students embrace compassion so as to ensure their performance at work is based on empathy for patients. Health care providers are on the move to facilitate both emotional and physical care to patients. In return, the mentally depressed persons will have the confidence to approach caregivers because they are assured proper treatment. The theme of personhood is of great significance especially in the future practice of nursing students. Nursing students are expected to consider themselves as care providers and learn how personhood is integrated in their practice. Academic work by various researches is needed in depicting lived mental experiences which nursing practitioners can relate to in the course of their operati


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