Skip to main content
13 May 2024

Guest blog: Embracing vulnerability – My journey with mental health in the care sector

Guest blog: Embracing vulnerability – My journey with mental health in the care sector
In this guest blog for Mental Health Awareness Week, Zoë Fry, Executive Director of The Outstanding Society, shares her journey towards self-care and embracing her own vulnerabilities.

As a nurse and a leader in the care sector, I have always strived to provide support and comfort to those in need. Yet, behind the facade of strength and composure, I have battled my own demons with mental health. Today, as we observe Mental Health Awareness Week, I feel compelled to share my journey, for it is through vulnerability that we find strength, empathy and connection.

Anxiety, panic attacks and recently diagnosed ADHD – these are not just medical terms; they are chapters in my life story. For years, I grappled with overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and fear, often questioning my ability to lead and care for others. In a profession where compassion is paramount, admitting my struggles felt like a betrayal of the very essence of nursing. However, during my darkest moments, I realised the transformative power of vulnerability.

It's okay not to be okay – a simple yet profound mantra that has guided me through my journey. Embracing my vulnerabilities allowed me to break free from the shackles of shame and self-doubt. By sharing my experiences openly, I discovered a supportive network of colleagues and friends who offered empathy, understanding and encouragement. In turn, I found solace in knowing I was not alone in my struggles.

As a leader in the care sector, I am committed to fostering a culture of openness and acceptance. Mental health affects us all, regardless of our profession or background. By creating a safe space for dialogue and support, we can break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and pave the way for healing and growth.

Moreover, my personal journey has taught me the importance of self-care and compassion. Just as we tend to the needs of others, we must also prioritise our own well-being. Whether taking a moment to breathe, seeking professional help, or simply reaching out to a friend, self-care is not a luxury but a necessity.

It's important to acknowledge that the journey towards self-care is ongoing and often challenging, especially for those of us working in the care sector. Personally, I've found it difficult at times to even say or write 'my psychiatrist'. However, over the past six months, my psychiatrist has been instrumental in transforming my life for the better.

With my recent diagnosis of ADHD, I often recall his words of wisdom: "You're like a Ferrari with no fuel." It was a moment of clarity for me. I came to accept that medication is the fuel I need to thrive, but I also recognise that I must relearn how to navigate life with this newfound support.

Acknowledging the need for medication was a significant step towards my journey to wellness. Now, I'm embracing the process of learning and adapting, much like learning to drive again. It's a journey of self-discovery and growth, and I'm grateful for the guidance and support I've received along the way.

Furthermore, my struggles with mental health have heightened my awareness of the unique challenges faced by those in the care sector. Compassion fatigue, burnout and vicarious trauma are all too common among healthcare professionals. Therefore, it is imperative that we prioritise mental health support and resources within our organisations. By investing in the well-being of our staff, we can create a more resilient and compassionate workforce.

In conclusion, my journey with mental health has been one of profound self-discovery and growth. Through vulnerability, I have found strength in the face of adversity and solidarity in shared experiences. As we observe Mental Health Awareness Week, let us remember that it's okay not to be okay. Let us embrace our vulnerabilities, support one another with empathy and compassion, and work together to create a brighter, more inclusive future for all. Remember, you are not alone.

Zoë Fry – OBE. BSc – RN

Executive Director, The Outstanding Society CIC



Content Streams








cost to attend


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest #CareManagersShow updates