Over the past 18 months I have been on a wonderful journey with Mind in Harrow. Given my own experience with mental health problems I was passionate about helping others with mental health problems get the best support and the respect they deserve and was drawn to Mind in Harrow as that as their main aim. I started my journey by signing up to be a Mental Health Champion as I wanted to help improve mental health services in Harrow for the greater good of the community. After training I become a member of the Harrow User Group (HUG) and was offered many wonderful opportunities to do this and have helped improve local and national mental health services.
Next, I joined the Head for Work Project gaining a professional qualification and I am now an accredited Mental Health Awareness Trainer, helping to deliver mental health awareness training to Harrow residents and new volunteers with Mind in Harrow.
I then became involved with the On Your Side Peer Advocacy Project helping support individuals with welfare benefits and mental health services. The training was excellent and I feel I gained the knowledge and skills needed to help clients to express their wishes to professionals so they receive the support they need. This is something I would have been nervous about doing but after training and helping individuals with this I now feel confident in my ability to help empower clients. Within this project I have so far helped two clients. The first client I worked with was anxious about a PIP appointment and I supported her with preparing for the appointment, making the journey and offered help and support after the appointment. The second client I worked with wanted accompanying to a Care Plan appointment and I was able to help them prepare, accompanied them on the day of the appointment assisting them with raising particular points and am currently helping them to ensure the Care Plan is an accurate description of what was discussed and agreed. With each client, I was able to help them prepare for their appointments and assisted them with the processes they had to follow, making the process less stressful for them. With the second client I was also able to empower them so they could express their wishes to professionals, which in turn will help them to receive the support they need.
Recently, I also joined the Support & Wellbeing Information Service Harrow (SWiSH) helping people in Harrow to access information about local services and advice about ways to keep safe and well. Throughout my journey I have been able to help many individuals experiencing mental health problems, something I am extremely proud of.
From the very first day I joined the organisation I was met with warmth, support and encouragement from all members of staff and am very proud to be involved in such a wonderful organisation. I’ve also met so many wonderful friends through the volunteering and work I do and they are such a strong support network for me. I’ve learnt so much through the training I have received with Mind in Harrow and they have also been very kind in recommending other training to me and within the past 18 months I have embarked on 12 courses, each enriching me with knowledge & skills to help individuals experiencing mental health problems.
All of these factors have led to me gaining confidence in myself and have allowed me the opportunity to work on my professional development and I would like to continue learning and work towards finding a career where I’m able to help people experiencing mental health problems. Joining Mind in Harrow has been the best decision I ever made and I am so proud of what I have helped the organisation achieve, I feel blessed to work with such wonderful and caring individuals and this journey has also been instrumental in helping me cope better with my mental health problems.