As some of you may know, one of my jobs this summer is with Mind, a mental health charity in the UK. I would seriously recommend having a look through the website even if you aren’t based in the UK. It has a lot of fabulous resources for people with mental ill health, and for family and friends.
It is a truly fantastic charity, and I would seriously recommend becoming involved, or giving a donation.
At my specific Mind branch, I am a Wellbeing Worker. This means that I run drop-in sessions, where people can just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. I am also currently being trained in one-to-one sessions, where I can have really in-depth conversations with people, and give practical suggestions. I also sometimes raise awareness in companies and colleges, which I particularly enjoy. It’s amazing what people will talk about when you’re being open about mental health yourself.
First of all, I have to say – if I wasn’t so set on going into publishing, I would work in the mental health sector. (I’m hoping at some point I can focus on publishing novels or non-fiction about mental health – maybe running my own little publishing company!) I honestly love my job. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and I’ve met so many incredible people along the way. Also, I’ve picked up tips on how to help my own mental health, which was a bonus I didn’t expect!
However, it can be very emotionally tiring. This is a type of labour that I am kind-of used to – customer service can be pretty emotionally tiring too – but never to this level. I often come home from work and I really need to nap/decompress. This definitely isn’t the sort of job for someone who cannot deal with emotional pressure. Although my particular service is only supposed to be for people with low-level mental ill health, we still get those who are in serious need of help. (How the NHS has been over-stretched in helping people with mental health is another post altogether.)
Another thing that I’ve had to watch is balancing my own health whilst still helping others. It would be very easy to slip from being a wellbeing worker to someone who needs the practical advice myself. I personally wouldn’t want to be in a vulnerable place whilst helping others. First of all, I don’t think it would be healthy for me, and secondly, I don’t think I would be helping people to the best of my abilities. Luckily, this has not been an issue as of yet, and I sincerely hope it stays that way.
Finally, I just want to say – if you’re ever in need of help, please do consider the charities and organisations in your local area. (There will hopefully be a couple.) On the whole, the people I’ve worked with have been incredible, and have had personal experiences with mental health. We are here to help with anything at all. x