Introducing our new Head of James' Place, Liverpool
My name is Andy Noon, I am a local lad from Halewood in South Liverpool. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with friends and family, staying active in the gym and following Everton FC (for my sins). I am passionate about helping people and I fortunately get to do this every day for a living.
My career in healthcare started in 2012 when I started a new role as a support worker for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs. This role really helped me to understand some of the complexities people live with and how to effectively support someone to live independently in their own home. In 2013, I experienced my own difficulties with anxiety and in particular panic attacks which I was able to learn how to effectively manage. This experience pushed me on to make the decision to pursue a career as a mental health nurse and I commenced a programme with Liverpool John Moores University in 2015. The course was 50% Placement based which I loved as I was able to discover a real passion for helping and caring for people during some of the most challenging periods of their life.
I qualified as a nurse in 2018 and since I have worked in a number of clinical settings including inpatient mental health hospitals across the city, before moving onto a band 6 role in the Early Intervention in Psychosis Community Team in Liverpool which I loved. During the time I was Nursing, I strongly felt that more engaging and easily accessible support was needed for people in my local community. I could see the barriers that stopped people seeking support for their mental health, people waiting over 6 months for treatment, and having a poor experience when seeking the support they needed. I knew I could do more to help and with this in mind I started a Community Interest Company, Evolving Mindset CIC with my brother Phil.
We set the organisation up to provide free and easy to access support for people with mild to moderate mental health needs in Knowsley and across Merseyside. Over 2000 people have received free support and the organisation has gone onto working closely with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to support a reduction in readmission to secondary services. In 2022, Evolving Mindset CIC organisation won the Merseyside Independent Health and Well-being Business of the year which was a remarkable achievement for all of us involved. I have also recently been honoured to be nominated and shortlisted for the Rising Star Award at the Nursing Times Awards later this year for the innovative work I have been involved in since qualifying as a nurse.
During the end of 2021 and throughout 2022, I experienced a really difficult time in my life. A series of life events occurred for me which all contributed to a shift in my thought process. This resulted in me experiencing intense and intrusive suicidal thoughts. Although I didn’t plan to act on these thoughts, I did experience how distressing and disabling they are. I managed this by listening to the same advice I give so many others, I bravely spoke about it, with a therapist who I worked through my difficulties with and I can honestly say it’s the best thing I could have done because I’ve become so much stronger for the experience and am now in a good place with my mental health.
Obviously, suicide prevention is something that I am extremely passionate about both on a professional and personal level and when I saw the role of Head of Centre for James’ Place Liverpool advertised earlier this year, I knew this was the role I was destined to do. The hybrid role of both leading an exceptional team and utilising my clinical skills to provide treatment to men in suicidal crisis was extremely appealing to me. To have a role of managing the centre where men in our city visit to talk through the real challenges they are facing is the most rewarding role I could imagine having.
I am over the moon to be here, everyone at the charity has been incredibly welcoming and I am planning a long and successful career with James Place. But what does success look like to me in this role? It means more men across the North West of England know about James Place, understand the work we do here and feel they are able to self-refer to us if they are experiencing a suicidal crisis. It means that friends and family members of a man in suicidal crisis know how to effectively refer someone to us and have reassurance that we can support their loved one during an extremely tough time in their life. It means building and maintaining strong relationships with health care professionals and ensure they are equipped with the right information to make life saving referrals to us. It means that all of the team at the centre are valued and adequately supported for them to continue providing an exceptional service for men in crisis.
I am both excited and driven to support James Place in the current expansion plans of opening a James’ Place Centre in Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol. With the new centres opening, up to 2,000 brave and courageous men will walk into a James Place centre for treatment each year during an extremely intense moment of their life. The thought that I am part of the team making it happen fills me with an immense amount of pride.
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