Studied: Distance Learning Courses, followed by Access to Health
Progression: Mental Health Nursing Degree at the University of Wolverhampton
Natalie Guy never imagined that a short distance learning course would give her the confidence to continue studying all the way up to university level. Now as an undergraduate, she is keen to pursue a role as a mental health advocate, ideally in suicide prevention.
“My ambition has always been to help people experiencing problems with their mental health,” said Natalie. “Having support available can make all the difference.”
Prior to her return to education, Natalie enjoyed an eight-year career in a number of healthcare settings. Her new qualifications led her to a new part-time job as a senior support worker at a private practice. Here, she supports individuals with mental health disabilities
It was one of Natalie’s friends who first inspired her to try something new. Her first step was distance learning courses in team leading and mental health. While these helped her develop a new thirst for learning, Natalie was still nervous about returning to an education environment for her Access course.
“I found the distance learning process quite straightforward,” recalled Natalie. “But the thought of actually being in a college surrounded by lots of people terrified me.
“I thought I’d be the oldest person there. Then when I started, I met students of all ages, some of them parents like me.”
Natalie’s Access to Health course opened her eyes up to a range of health subjects and disciplines linked to science (body anatomy) and sociology (health studies). The most rewarding part of all was completing a 3,000 word research proposal about diabetes awareness. She achieved a Distinction grade for this.
“Being a student again is one of the best decisions I’ve made,” said Natalie. “I’m the first in my family to go to university. Now my sister is at college. I paved the way for her.
“I’ve made friends for life. It’s rewarding to see others progress in the same way I am.”
Following her degree, she hopes to gain a Masters qualification. Then she will pursue a professional role in suicide prevention.
Natalie added: “I was at a university talk about suicide prevention and found it overwhelming to hear what people there were saying. For example, I learned that talking to someone for just three minutes could save their life.
“I want to be someone involved in these conversations.”