AN NHS support worker who conquered mental illness has won a prestigious award after helping others fight similar battles.
Katy Chachou, recovery support worker at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), has been named as the Patient Contributor of the Year at the Royal College of Psychiatrists annual awards.
Katy, from Solihull, was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after the birth of her daughter.
The condition is a rare but serious mental illness which can affect a woman soon after she has a baby.
It can involve hallucinations, delusions and manic behaviour.
She said: “I felt very honoured to win the award and be included alongside so many examples of excellent work.
“It’s great to be recognised and I dedicate the award to all of the other service users that are doing brilliant things as well.”
It was her former consultant psychiatrist, Dr Erin Turner, who nominated her for the award.
She said: “I have seen Katy recover from a serious mental health condition and now not only does she work in the Trust’s Recovery Team, she supports service users in our Mother and Baby Unit who are facing the same challenges that she did seven years ago.”
Katy’s award was presented by Mind chief executive Paul Farmer and BBC journalist and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire hosted the ceremony.
Katy says she uses her own experience of mental ill health to support service users in departments across the trust and to facilitate courses in the recovery college.
She also works with several charities including Mind and Action on Postpartum Psychosis as well as helping to train junior psychiatrists on the Birmingham MRCPsych course.