Shining a Light on Students - Solenne Moore

AT Maison de Choup we talk a lot about the stories of people suffering from severe mental health problems and indeed the past of how the brand was formed. However, we've noticed that we rarely discuss the amazing souls that dedicate their lives to helping those of us suffering. It can be an incredibly difficult, emotional and sometimes soul destroying task which has its ups and downs of reward. Even more so with the constant struggle of the NHS and the evergrowing waiting lists for help.
So.. when it comes to choosing it as a career, you have to be a certain sort of astonishing person to want to go into it. These people do not get enough recognition from the get-go. To that end then, we'd like to shine a light on some of the young people who are choosing it as their future. 
After discovering Solenne on Instagram and becoming mutual followers, I am in awe of her ambition to become a mental health nurse, so I thought it would be fascinating to hear her story and why's she chosen the career path that she has. Read the moving interview below. 

Hello! My name is Solenne Moore and I’m a 19-year-old first-year student mental health nurse. I was born and raised in Basingstoke, Hampshire and have recently moved down to Plymouth, Devon to study at University.

When did you realise you wanted to become a mental health nurse and why?
I really decided to venture into the career of mental health within the past year. I took a gap year between college and university to figure out what I wanted to pursue and also have the time to do some well awaited travelling too. The career of a mental health nursing was first introduced to me by my mother as she went to University as a mature student in 2012. I have always known I would have a job with a caring role since I was a child. However, I never realised I could specialise in mental health as it really wasn’t widely spoken about while growing up. I could see how much my mother was interested and passionate about this role and it really resonated with me. I could see the help and support she was giving to others and the interesting research she would share with everyone she knew. I have also met some incredibly inspiring people such as George Hodgson, founder of Maison de Choup and Harriet Skidmore who I met through Raleigh International, sharing their stories so openly and being advocates for mental health awareness, which really confirmed my choice in wanting to making a difference.

Solenne travelling in San Dionisio, Nicaragua.
What are you finding the most interesting part about learning to be a mental health nurse? 

So far as a first year, Ive had workshops on communication and engagement. This includes the theory behind talking to your patients in the most effective way, ensuring you can read from their body language, their tone of voice or repetition of certain topics which can facilitate the conversation in order to communicate with your patient in the best way. I feel these are interesting and very important skills which I can take into practice. In the new year, I will start the module Introduction to mental healthwhich will begin to go into depth about different disorders and illnesses and their treatments. Although the study of the various mental health conditions is interesting, I feel being out on practice will be the most valuable part, where I will gain a vast amount of experience working both with staff and patients.

Are you going to specialise in a particular area of mental health nursing? 
Im very interested in working within a mother and baby unit, supporting mothers who experience postnatal depression or psychosis. My EPQ for college was based on this, and doing all the research gripped my interest. It would be an area Id like to specialise in. However, for my first placement, I will be working on an elderly inpatient ward. This means that I will be working with patients who have dementia or cognitive impairment. I think it will be a very rewarding placement as I will be doing a lot of hands-on personal care and I will learn a huge amount. Over the next three years, I will have the opportunities to work within a range of areas which will help me decide which area Id like to specialise in.  

What do you think the hardest part of being a mental health nurse will be?
I think the hardest part might be getting burnt outwhile working. It will be difficult to remain positive while being surrounded by a lot of negative emotions, ensuring that you keep the hope on behalf of your patients. Due to low staffing levels or funding, it might feel at times that I cant do enough for someone.

Being a nurse, especially a mental health nurse, it can be very emotionally draining. Do you plan to have any self-care or something you will do to wind down after?
Caring for myself and ensuring I remain positive would be putting aside some valuable time with my friends. I find that being surrounded by my friends always lifts my mood. However, I also value having time to myself to wind down, which I feel will be very important especially after a long shift. Being surrounded by people the whole day can be very draining. Therefore it will be important to give myself time to collect my thoughts and chill out. I also have great family support so if I am struggling with my emotions, I have people to reach out to.

Is there any advice youd give to other people who might be interested in getting involved with mental health nursing?
My advice would be aware of the amount of work that is expected of you. The degree is 50% academic work and 50% practice. Having to do both of these together can be stressful, but its all about time management and the importance of staying focused on helping others. If you are a compassionate and caring person, you have the required qualities for this job. If like me you do not previous healthcare experience this will not be an issue as long as you are motivated, passionate and eager to learn and to help others.

Shop the Article

Solenne wears the White Embroidered Sweatshirt
Maison de Choup is the fashion brand with a mental health cause at its heart. Founded by George David Hodgson, severe anxiety & OCD sufferer, it was started out a crippling period of his Anxiety using his drawings. The brand launched in 2017 with the hope of raising awareness for mental health using fashion as a vehicle as well as raising funds for YoungMinds charity, supporting young mental health sufferers, not in the same fortunate position as George was to get private mental health care. 
Photographed by her sister Lyciane Moore.
Words by Solenne Moore


  • Nice that you are here but I don’t know why Plymouth? I was recently advised to visit a mind clinic in mutley. It was at the back end of nowhere in a small house. I asked why it was so remote when i am tripping over kebab shops etc in town. She told me that they are a charity and can’t afford the rents in town. That is commitment to mental health in Plymouth! Pizzas are important but not mental health! Best wishes and good luck x

    Edward Mccarten
  • Awesome story! Great to see that there are young people who genuinely care and want to make a difference. The whole approach towards mental health needs change. We need to have more proactive approach towards it in all workplaces. So, I truly appreciate Maison de Choup sharing this story! Thanks!

    By now we know that there is no single gene known to cause psychiatric illnesses, so there are no simple medical solutions. The majority of methods in psychology have been developed as forms of intervention for a therapy setting and not as a proactive education. That needs to change if we want to turn the tide and secure that people who are already well also stay well. Staying well does not just happen, it demands access to practical intrapersonal education. That is something that every single workplace can provide for their employees:

    Mental wellness and intrapersonal education can reduce health related costs and should be seen as a crucial investment for all companies wanting to stay competitive.

    The good question is when will our paradigm shift towards mental wellness? Until it does not we will for sure need people like Solenne. People who care and are willing to help.

    Thanks again for sharing! It really inspired me.

    Kaur Lass
    Managing Director of Wellness Orbit – world’s first fully digital mental wellness gym for teams

    Kaur Lass

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