Ken’s desire to enlighten people

Ken Thomas, Governor
Ken Thomas outside the Woodlands unit in Sidcup. He was a patient here six years ago.

Six years ago newly elected Oxleas Governor, Ken Thomas, spent three months on Leyton Ward at the Woodlands Unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. He had depression.

Now he is to serve on the trust’s Council of Governors and has a unique insight into what it’s like to be a patient with a mental health issue on an Oxleas ward.

He said my main aim is to spread enlightenment: “If people see your arm in plaster or you are going through a course of chemotherapy everyone has sympathy for you. If you tell them you have a mental health problem, people take a step back. In fact one in four people have a mental health problem at sometime in their life.”

The 77-year-old, married quantity surveyor from Sidcup is looking forward to the challenge ahead. Ken already sits on a panel that decides if patients sectioned under the Mental Health Act can rejoin society in his role as a Mental Health Act Manager.

A committed Christian, Ken is a Methodist. This year to mark World Mental Health Day in October, he is to deliver a sermon at St Giles Church at the Barbican in London, touching upon some of the themes mentioned above. He said he is looking forward to it and to spreading the word about mental health issues to a wider audience.

Ken said: “I am a fan of Oxleas it does most things well and generally the trust is doing a good job, but there is always room for improvement and that is very much the ethos of Oxleas. Personally this gives me a big boost and I am willing to do anything I can as a governor to help the trust.”

Ken will take up his position on the Council of Governors after the Annual Members’ Meeting on Wednesday 28 September.

Published on 7th September 2011