King’s Lynn author Helen Morrell’s book Forget Me Not reveals ups and downs of mental health care in Norfolk
A woman who ran homes for people with mental health problems for 25 years has written a touching book about her experiences.
Helen Morrell and her husband Dave ran support homes in King's Lynn and Gayton from the mid-1980s.
By the time they retired, in 2007, their business cared for 53 people.
In the book, called Forget Me Not, Mrs Morrell describes some of the colourful characters she encountered, along with the ups and downs of living and working with people with mental health problems. The book includes first-hand accounts by some of the people she supported through difficult times.
Mrs Morrell, 52, said: 'That's the big unusual bit, there's just nothing out there directly from the horse's mouth.
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'We started off with an extended family and it just grew out of all proportion.'
Mrs Morrell said bureaucracy and red tape eventually drove her out of the caring profession.
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'It got so silly by the time we were leaving they even wanted a risk assessment on a cat coming in,' she said.
'In the end we weren't allowed to work with the people, it was just ticking boxes. We were so strangled by the bureaucracy I couldn't stick it.'
In the book, Mrs Morrell admits to a taking an unorthodox approach.
'If you've got to work with challenging people, you have to take risks,' she said.
On former resident wrote of her game pie: 'It could have been road kill for all we knew. But hey, no-one died.'
?The book is being launched tonight (6pm) at King's Lynn Library. More than 100 people are expected at the event.