Published on: 20 October 2023

For Becki Priest, working in mental healthcare is a job full of rewards because she can always see hope, even when service users are too unwell to do the same.

Becki is the Deputy Director and Chief Allied Health Professional at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and a qualified occupational therapist.

She says: “Many of the people who use our services are in the depths of despair. In some cases, they cannot even imagine a future for themselves. People lose a lot of confidence when they have mental health struggles and their lives can fall apart.

“But even when service users cannot see it themselves, there is always hope – and that’s one of the things I love about working for Derbyshire Healthcare. Yes, it can sometimes be a challenge to connect with people but when that breakthrough comes, when people start to rebuild their lives, the rewards are huge.”

The rewards of a career in mental healthcare will be highlighted at Derbyshire Healthcare’s recruitment fair on Saturday 28 October, the day after World Occupational Therapy Day.

Visitors to the event, at the SMH Group Stadium in Chesterfield between 10am and 3pm, can learn more about working for the Trust, meet some of the teams and find out what vacancies are available now and coming up in the future. For certain roles – including occupational therapists – there will be the opportunity to be interviewed on the day.

Becki qualified as an occupational therapist in 2002 after studying at the University of Derby. Since then she has gained extensive experience in a range of mental health specialisms, including as part of one of the first crisis teams set up in the UK. She worked for five years in New Zealand as Professional lead for Occupational Therapy and Vocational Services before returning to her Derbyshire roots just over three years ago.

Becki says: “It’s great to be back on home soil, working for such a friendly Trust as Derbyshire Healthcare. Compared to others, this is quite a small Trust but we have a good mental health service covering older adults, acute care, forensic, perinatal and community work. We also have a thriving learning disability division and a child health service making working here diverse and interesting.

“We have a fabulous workforce and we pride ourselves on respecting everyone’s different skills and life experiences, using this diversity to improve patient care and wellbeing. We also offer some great opportunities for career progression.”

Becki is particularly proud of the way Derbyshire Healthcare collaborates with its staff, service users and carers and says a great example of this is the Making Room for Dignity programme which comprises six new and refurbished inpatient facilities in Chesterfield and Derby.

She says: “Throughout the process, we have consulted closely with those who use our services to design and build new facilities with patients, friends and family in mind. With single, en-suite bedrooms, patients will have privacy, dignity and maximum control over their environment, giving them the best opportunity to rest and heal.”

The Making Room for Dignity programme will create jobs for occupational therapists, other allied health professionals, mental health nurses, and other clinical and non-clinical roles. Derbyshire Healthcare also has career opportunities across the Trust as a whole.

The Trust provides mental health, learning disabilities, substance misuse and children’s health services across Derbyshire, and runs the East Midlands Gambling Harms Service. Representatives of many of these services will be at Derbyshire Healthcare’s Open Recruitment Event, providing information to all attendees and offering interviews to qualified mental health nurses and allied health professionals including occupational therapists, dieticians, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. Anyone interested in an interview should take proof of their qualifications with them.

Derbyshire Healthcare’s Open Recruitment Event is on Saturday 28 October between 10am and 3pm in the Spires Restaurant at The Spire, SMH Group Stadium, 1866 Sheffield Road, Whittington Moor, Chesterfield S41 8NZ. Free on-site parking is available.

Find out more about some of the opportunities available and register your interest in working for Derbyshire Healthcare at