“In these very difficult and unpredictable times… staff and people with mental health problems are really struggling.”
Jo Brand, a comedian, local South London resident and former mental health nurse at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), is calling for donations to our COVID-19 (coronavirus) Emergency Appeal.
The fundraising appeal will go towards supporting patients and staff as they tackle this crisis, to ensure that hospital and community services across Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark – and Bethlem Royal Hospital, Bromley – can continue to offer support to people experiencing mental illness.
Jo Brand and the Maudsley Hospital
Brand is an ex-psychiatric nurse who worked for ten years at the Maudsley Hospital in South London prior to becoming a comedian. She was in the first cohort of individuals to get a degree in Social Sciences and Mental Health Nursing. Within six years she had become the senior charge nurse in the Emergency Clinic at the Maudsley.
Jo started her career as a comedian while working for SLaM, but after she left she continued to promote public understanding of mental health issues through high profile events in support of research and services at SLaM.
She said then “I support SLaM because we should all be able to talk about our mental health, honestly and openly, and because SLaM staff are inspirational, their common sense, unending kindness and ability to deal with very tense situations is amazing.”
Recognition for mental health advocacy
Her television and stage work continued to draw on her experiences as a psychiatric nurse to raise important and tough subjects. In 2003 and 2009 respectively she co-wrote and starred in Mental, a bio-play with a fellow former psychiatric nurse, and the Bafta winning drama Getting On.
In 2013 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of King’s College London, in recognition of her work as an advocate for people with mental health problems, support of mental health research and long-standing association with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.