Clinical Lead Lee Curtis works for the Northumberland and North Tyneside Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team.

Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), the team offers assessment and home treatment for people experiencing a mental health crisis as an alternative to hospital admission.

Based at St George’s Park in Morpeth, Lee manages the older person’s part of the crisis team. “We look after some of the most unwell patients in the community,” he said.

Day-to-day, Lee’s job involves reviewing complex cases, creating treatment plans and liaising with social care and community treatment teams.

Lee has been in his current role for two years but nearly didn’t go into nursing at all, initially wanting to become a teacher.

“My sister took a gap year which meant we were going to be on the same teaching course,” Lee explained. “I said there was no way I was going to university with my sister so I didn’t go into teaching!”

One of Lee’s friends was working as a carer and suggested he tried that. “Once I was working as a carer I knew that mental health nursing was what I wanted to do.”

He went on to study Mental Health Nursing at Teesside University and worked for a number of years in the private and charity sectors.

Lee’s first taste of CNTW was working on bank shifts at different sites across the Trust before joining as a full-time member of staff. “I was nervous starting the job,” he admits. “But everyone was so friendly, and the senior managers were helpful and accessible, which is still the case today. In other jobs I’ve felt alone but it’s like a family here.”

For Lee, the best thing about working in CNTW is the support available. “The Trust has a really good appraisal process. I was asked where I wanted to be in my career and they are realistic in helping you achieve that.”

Lee has also taken up a number of opportunities for training and development. He’s doing a masters degree in Advanced Clinical Practice and has completed the Mary Seacole programme, a training programme designed to develop knowledge and skills in leadership and management. He has also done a non-medical prescribing course through the Trust.

He hopes this will help towards his goal of becoming a nurse consultant.

Lee’s advice for anyone thinking of career in mental health nursing is to go for it and make the most of the opportunities and support available.

CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.