The psychiatric ward that is switching to Positive News

NHS occupational therapist Mal Ure tells us how the service is working to improve patients’ media diets at the psychiatric ward where she works in Somerset

We know from research – and from talking to many of you in the Positive News community – that excessive media negativity can detrimentally affect people’s mental health.

Rydon Wards 1 and 2, at the Wellsprings Hospital Site in Taunton, provide assessment and treatment for adults who are experiencing acute mental health problems.

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Mal Ure, an occupational therapist on Rydon Wards, got in touch with us at Positive News to explain how a conversation among staff there about the media sparked a discussion about the publications they make available to patients.

“At the ward Have Your Say meeting, we were discussing the content of the newspapers that the ward supplies. It had been a bad few weeks: terrorism, the imminence of the third world war, dramas around Brexit and lots of other scare stories, envy and scandal, as usual. We were asking: does it have to be this way?” says Mal.

“One of our ward managers, Paula, had heard about Positive News, and Martin, our clinical manager, commented that many of our patients are actually undergoing spiritual crises.

We feel that Positive News could bring some measure of hope for their future

“We feel that Positive News could go some way to bringing some measure of hope for their future, the future of society and the world, and allow patients to focus more on people who behave with grace, dignity, courage and imagination.”

Positive News seemed an obvious fit for a place where patients’ wellbeing is central, and staff there stand to benefit from the switch, too. Mal herself spent 20 years as a locum (working in temporary roles), and says Rydon Wards was the first place she had ever felt she wanted to work permanently – despite taking a significant pay cut.

She said: “It’s the best place I’ve ever worked, and the kindest.”

Mal, second from left, with the team from Rydon Wards

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