Cholena Mountain, mental health practitioner, educator, and expert in personality disorders has been awarded an Honorary Master of the University for work in areas of special educational concern, at the Ely Cathedral graduation ceremony.
In recent years, the challenges faced by those with personality disorders have become more widely recognised, and there has been a concerted effort and investment into understanding and support. The National Personality Disorder Knowledge and Understanding Framework (KUF) has been crucial to this shift – training frontline staff to work more sensitively and effectively with those living with this disorder.
Cholena has helped to transform how some of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society are treated and supported within public services through her passionate commitment to recognising and responding to the voices and needs of service users. Her emphasis on placing their needs at the heart of the framework, has transformed both the clinical approach of her many students and the quality of care for the individuals they work with.
Dynamic and innovative voice
She has provided a dynamic and innovative service user voice in the development of the KUF for over eight years. The framework was developed to meet the needs of a marginalised and stigmatised group, whose lives are often blighted by limited opportunity, societal disconnection, trauma and social injustice.
In 2017, after years of commitment at the coal face, including working in prisons, high secure hospitals, the independent sector and NHS services, Cholena was promoted to lead the core KUF programme at the national level.
Cholena has used her experience of personality disorder to manage this complex educational challenge, ensuring learners develop the compassion and psychological mindedness required for working with individuals with a history of trauma.
Her tremendous energy, organisation and industry have been awe-inspiring for those who have had the privilege of working with her, and she has won the trust and confidence of practitioners and service users alike.
Dr Sally Boyle, Head of School, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies, presented Cholena for her Honorary Degree, saying:
“At the Open University, we are incredibly proud of the training, research and professional development programmes we offer around mental health. As the largest provider of higher education in psychology, we are conducting ground breaking studies into everything from dementia to depression, and we are central to efforts to educate and equip the next generation of practitioners.
“Through the Knowledge and Understanding Framework, Open University staff have directly observed the incredible contribution that Cholena has made to advances in education and care on personality disorders. We are delighted to celebrate her extraordinary work in this field.”