What is your role at MindOut?
I am the Community Mental Health Advocate at MindOut. This means that we work with our clients to help them have their voices heard, to inform them of their rights, and to support them with various practical issues surrounding mental health. Pre lockdown, I would accompany clients to benefits meetings, or GP visits. Client need levels vary greatly, so it means no two days look the same for me.
What do you love about working at MindOut?
I love working within the LGBTQ+ community, it is very affirming for me. I also work with an incredible team of Advocates. I think it is so great that MindOut can offer a space for people of all identities who know that they will be accepted by our service. Helping people to have their voices heard is incredibly rewarding. Minority stress is even more evident at the moment, and working for an organisation that provides mental health support makes me feel like I can ‘give back’ to my community.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Helping people to get their benefits; providing access to food banks; providing information and support on trans healthcare pathways; and helping people out of dangerous living situations are the most satisfying parts of my job, as I know this can literally be a matter of life and death for some people.
How have you looked after your mental health during a lockdown?
I think that focusing on the little things like eating well (most of the time!), connecting with friends and family and trying to limit social media exposure has really helped me during the lockdown. I took up embroidery to pass the time, and it turns out I’m quite good at it! Little tokens like receiving cards from friends and family really helped too.
I feel I am lucky that I have a really great support network, and I have the beach at my doorstep, which has helped me to stay grounded. I still struggle with having my options limited, but remembering that this too shall pass is really important for me.
What songs have you been listening to that’s helped you stay positive during lockdown?
Glen Hansard – ‘Song of Good Hope’
Little Dragon – ‘Hold On’
Jenny Lewis – ‘ Little White Dove’
Lady Gaga – ‘1000 Doves’
How will you celebrate Pride this year?
We were planning a big pride ‘brunch’, so I’m sad we won’t be able to do that. I’m hoping that we can still mark Pride at the beach with friends or something low key like that. I’m hoping that because there will be a lot less expectation this year, we might be able to refocus on the things that are important, like connection, community, and supporting our Black and POC trans community.
What animal would you be and why?
I love dogs so much, so I think I would be a golden retriever, they always seem pretty content with life!