The NHS, the Uniform & the Blackberry® is a true story about a real person who discovered what it is like to suffer mental health problems when working for the NHS.
You would expect the NHS to be switched on to recognising employees suffering stress in the workplace and experiencing the onset of depressive illness wouldn’t you. Well think again!
Reactive depression is a depressed mood state related to stressful life events. James, the subject of my book, suffered more than his share of those stressful life events.
Over a period of two and a half years he was bullied, harassed, subjected to an inordinate number of investigations and put through two complex and stressful Disciplinary Hearings and an Appeal.
During that time, his beloved grandmother died from a debilitating and extremely painful illness. And, his wife had what could have been a life changing accident.
The NHS Trust in question has a bookshelf of policies and procedures many of which it ignored or perverted. Amongst them is an impressive policy dealing with the management of stress and workplace wellbeing. This document clearly sets out the symptoms to look for and the actions to be taken.
James exhibited all the classic symptoms of Workplace Stress and Reactive Depression. However, his managers just interpreted them as delinquency and bad behaviour and treated him accordingly.
There was no compassion, no thoughtfulness, no understanding of his vulnerable condition. He was finally driven to attempt suicide in a lay-by in his car!
James and his family asked me to recount his story; it is as much a catharsis for them as it is an exposé of the way that staff relations are sometimes handled in the NHS.
No names are given in the book and there is no intention to put anyone in the stocks so that they can have bad fruit thrown at them.
But, if anyone in the NHS reads the book and recognises the poor management behaviour, the obsessive pursuit of a vulnerable colleague and the total lack of compassion as something they may have been guilty of, at some time, somewhere, I hope they feel ashamed.
James is a real person but his name has been changed to protect his recovery. He is the main character in ‘The NHS, the Uniform and the Blackberry®’ by Lucy la Zouche. Available in Paperback £2.99, in E-book, iBook and Kindle 99p at: www.lucylazouche.com