For tonight’s Mental Health Awareness Week post, I spoke to my best friend, Abbie, who coincidentally works for a Mental Health charity. There are a lot of people who can help, but what’s it like to be one of those helpers? I asked Abbie what it’s like to work in Mental Health.
1. What do you do?
I am a Peer Support Coordinator, this means I recruit, train and supervise a team of volunteers who use their own experiences of mental ill health to support others.
2. Why did you choose to work in Mental Health?
I studied Psychology at university and then volunteered in mental health. I’ve also experienced mental health problems myself, so wanted to help others similar to me.
3. What’s one piece of advice you have for people with mental health conditions?
Try to find strength in what you’re going through. For a long time I thought my own mental health challenges could only be a negative, now I use them as a support so that I can help others.
4. What’s one thing you’ve learnt in your job?
People shouldn’t be defined by their history. I’ve worked with people with criminal records, who are incredibly inspiring and have such value to others when they are just given a chance.
5. Is your job affected by government cuts?
Yes! I work for a charity and we are definitely feeling the pinch. We’re also finding it more difficult to work together with other mental health organisations and charities when we’re all competing for ever shrinking pots of money.
6. What should people know about working in mental health?
It can be very challenging but it’s very rewarding. I can be very difficult to work alongside people who are struggling, but it’s amazing when you see them doing well. It’s important to set your own boundaries and know when to take time off to look after yourself.
Thanks to Abbie for giving an insight into her job. If YOU work in mental health and would like to be featured, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org!
Legal jargon: All views expressed are Abbie’s own, they do not represent the charity she works for.