Mental health nurse Sophie Rane’s Facebook innovation will enable those struggling during lockdown to help themselves or reach out for help from others

THE Covid-19 pandemic is a threat to mental as well as physical health.  Now, a final-year student at the University of Huddersfield has developed an online resource that will enable people to appraise their state of mind and receive help and guidance where needed.

Sophie Rane is in the closing stages of her Mental Health Nursing BSc degree at the University, and is already working in an acute mental health ward, caring for patients with a wide of range of conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, acute depression and personality disorders.

But Sophie is also aware that coronavirus and the lockdown have had a massive impact on mental health.

“Community services are seeing a lot of stress-induced psychosis, or stress and anxiety due to people being at home on their own,” she said.

When the lockdown meant that Sophie spent a lonely 25th birthday this gave her an insight into the plight of isolated people.  So she conceived the idea for a Facebook page that would enable people who visit to judge the state of their mental health by completing a survey.  The results will be graded on a “traffic light” system, indicating just what level of help and support are required and available.

Study Nursing at Huddersfield

Sophie ran the concept past her personal tutor, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing Dr Ruth Elliot, who put her in touch with other students.  One of them, Nicky Haley, has worked with Sophie on creating the Facebook page, using a survey supplied by the University.

“Once people have taken the survey, the results will be green, amber or red,” said Sophie.

Green will indicate anxiety or a low mood and the Facebook page will have resources to enable people to address their issues.

“Amber will be a forum where people can share their experiences and discuss what helps them,” said Sophie.

And a Red result will lead to the offer of an email, message or call and some one-to-one support and advice on how to access to mental health services if needed.

The Facebook page is titled HUDS Uni – it’s OK to not be OK and a team of students will be recruited to help with the responses.  This will be a valuable opportunity for them.

“Some students are unable to go out and work on hospital wards because they are vulnerable to coronavirus themselves or have vulnerable people living at home, so we thought it this be a good way for them to get involved.”

Sophie Rane, BSc(Hons) Mental Health Nursing

The Facebook page is due to be up and running soon, and will be widely promoted by social media.  Although it is a response to Covid-19, it will remain relevant even after the passing of the pandemic, said Sophie.

Halifax-born and a former pupil of Brooksbank School in Elland, mental health nursing was an early career choice, leading to her University of Huddersfield studies.

After graduation, she will take up posts that include working with children and adolescents undergoing mental health problems.

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