Activities aiding recovery – Chloe is our NHS Hero

Having always been a very creative person with a desire to help others through her career, Chloe Tonks, (24) from Kingswinford, has definitely made a positive impact during her first year working in healthcare at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMH).

Chloe works as an occupational therapist, where her aim is to encourage individuals to carry out meaningful, everyday activities by offering therapeutic interventions, such as assessments, skill building, recovery, and routine.

“I love the therapeutic value that occupational therapy provides our patients with; it allows me to explore my passion for creativity, whilst supporting patients within their day-to-day lives,” Chloe explained.

Her role allows her to strike a balance between facilitating therapeutic group sessions at the Trust’s therapy hub, and delivering tailored assessments for each individual patient that requires support on the ward. A weekly screening process also means that Chloe can effectively identity patients’ needs, and an individual plan can then be put in place to offer suitable support to help their recovery.

Chloe said: “I love seeing the impact of my involvement in patient care. Every day brings something new and that is something I always look forward to.

I also feel that I’ve been able to explore my independence within my role, and this has allowed me to become an autonomous leader.”

A typical day for Chloe can range from engaging with patients one-on-one – even if it’s just a chat and a catch-up, or facilitating a range of group sessions which are scheduled and advertised on a weekly basis.

“My favourite groups to lead are definitely singing and women’s health – they really give patients something positive to focus on, as well as allowing them to work towards a personal goal. The social aspect and interaction with others is also really important,” smiled Chloe.

Compliments from staff and patients really brighten Chloe’s day, especially as she works with such a wide range of patients and sees different faces day in, day out.

“In one of our group sessions, we asked participants to write a ‘note of kindness’ and it was so uplifting for everyone. It’s the things you don’t notice or think about that make a difference to others – this definitely made me smile!”

Chloe’s next big challenge is to supervise a student independently. Alongside this, she has also been asked to deliver a lecture as part of the student placement programme.

“It’s exciting to be asked to speak to students at the university I attended!” added Chloe.

In her spare time, Chloe enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching Netflix, and avoiding housework by singing and dancing around to music!

So who is Chloe’s hero?

“My parents. My mother worked as a nurse so it’s helpful to have someone in the family with a similar profession. They are so hardworking, whilst maintaining a sense of selflessness. They inspire me to go after my goals and to believe in myself, and always provide me with support and guidance.”

Chloe’s mental health message: “Always practice and encourage self-love. Try not to undermine your abilities or the impact you have on others – you are special, so believe it.”