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Friday 19 April 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Leanne off to Buckingham Palace on World Mental Health Day

Leanne Walker with her Buckingham Palace invitation
Leanne Walker with her invitation to Buckingham Palace

Leanne Walker, our young person consultant and expert by experience in our CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) team, is attending a reception today - World Mental Health Day - at Buckingham Palace. 

Leanne has been invited to meet Princes William and Harry, and the Duchess of Cambridge, in recognition of her work in the mental health sector. You can read more about Leanne’s work on the NHS England website.

We asked Leanne a few questions about her special day…

Where were you when you received the invitation? 

"I was sat outside Kingsway Hospital in Derby in a colleague’s car, having collected the envelope from Trust HQ. I just sat holding it, looking at the Buckingham Palace stamp and my colleagues were like, ‘Open it! Open it!’ I peeled it open and took it out and I just saw the words ‘invite’ and ‘Buckingham Palace’ alongside my name and I just couldn’t believe it. I do what I do because I want to play my part in helping to improve things for others. I continue to tell my ‘story’ because I want others to know it’s OK to tell theirs too, that they are not alone. I don’t do what I do for recognition but in that moment, I felt proud."

Do you know who nominated you to attend the Palace and why?

"Since being a service user at Derby CAMHS, I’ve worked with a range of different organisations, so I don’t know exactly. But I did do some work with NHS England a few years back, which is a possibility. Whoever made this happen, thank you!" 

Mental health has recently become an issue closely associated with Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge. Do you have anything you want to say to them?

"Thank you for giving mental health an even bigger platform. Having you on board brings an extra ray of hope for the future. Together, we really can make change happen."

Thinking back about when you were receiving support from the team – what's the best piece of advice you would give to others today?

"It can be hard, when you are in the middle of a very difficult time, to see your life being anything other than what it is in that moment. But believe me, things can improve; life will not always be what it is now." 

What a way to celebrate World Mental Health Day! What are you looking forward to most at the reception?

"It will be great to talk to other people and hear about the work they are doing. I enjoy learning from others and listening to their ‘stories’ and of course I am very much looking forward to hearing from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Honestly though, it really won’t feel real until I am stepping through the gates!"