Following her dreams – Allison is our NHS Hero

With a keen interest in mental health from the get-go, it wasn’t until Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) Allison Fox was 45, that she finally allowed herself to follow her dream.

Although she has worked in the NHS for four and a half years, Allison (who is now 54 and lives in Walsall), had previously lived and breathed all things administration within a range of different organisations and in a range of different roles.

“I always worked full-time within each and every administrative job role I carried out throughout my career,” said Allison.

Allison added: “Not only was I working full-time back then but I was also single-handedly raising my daughter.”

It was in 2009, when Allison’s daughter had grown up and became more independent, that she decided she was finally able to pursue the career she had always wanted to.

Allison said: “Mental health has always been close to my heart.

“My family has been touched by mental illness and so I have always wanted to support and make a difference to other people’s lives as it’s not just important to help people live independently, it’s also about making sure they live the best life possible.”

Allison, who lives with a long-term physical health condition, knew she was destined to work within the community as she has always loved helping not only patients, but also their families too and despite her condition, she has always been committed to helping others.

After completing her Mental Health Nursing degree and graduating with a first class honours, Allison started her career within a secure mental health unit for six months before landing her first job as a CPN for South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

In September 2017, DWMH advertised a CPN role within Walsall which is where Allison moved to in September 2016 so applying for the role was a no brainer for Allison.

As part of Allison’s role as a CPN, she visits patients with mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia (in their homes or in clinic) and administers medication/injections and she also works with them to develop coping strategies and build their confidence.

Her biggest achievement to date is being crowned the winner of the Patient’s Choice award at the Trust’s Recognising Success awards last week.

“I could not believe I won the award, it was such a shock but I am just so proud that it was in the Patient’s Choice category because they are the reason why I do my job.”

Outside of work Allison enjoys arts and crafts as she finds it therapeutic and also enjoys trips to the cinema and relaxing walks with her husband.

So who is Allison’s hero?

“It has to be my daughter,” she said.

“What my daughter has achieved against all odds and whilst living with a long-term physical health condition is just amazing,” said Allison.

She added: “My daughter is a social worker who helps children with disabilities, I honestly couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Allison’s mental health message: “It’s not a weakness to ask for help.”