Can you talk us through the jobs you’ve had here at MindOut?
I was first an LGBTQ mental health advocate for MindOut eight years ago for two years. When I came back from London last year, there was a vacancy to facilitate the People Of Colour (POC) group. After this I joined the advocacy team and I’m now covering the Senior Practitioner maternity leave. So I’m currently doing the urgent needs advocacy and managing the advocacy service. Then when the post holder returns I will be going into another advocacy case work post. So I’m here for a while this time!
Why do you keep coming back?
Because I really love working at MindOut! And of course the fact that we’re in Brighton with a large and diverse LGBTQ community. It’s an amazing service, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the country. I love working in an LGBTQ office with workers who have shared identities. As a non-binary person it’s really fun to be around the other non-binary staff. I always know that I’ll get to work and be really happy. I feel so lucky. Not a lot of people get to say that.
What else do you love about MindOut?
We have a lot of varied services and lots of varied service users. It’s interesting and challenging. Doing urgent need advocacy I get to work with migrant, refugee and asylum seeking people as well as LGBTQ people with complex needs and people of colour, like myself.
Can you tell us about any recent changes in the advocacy department?
We have a new advocacy case worker, Benjamin, and we have also just restarted our duty advocacy service. This means that on a Tuesday afternoon between 2.30pm and 4.30pm anybody can drop into Community Base and ask to see an advocate.
What’s the most satisfying part of your current role and why?
Supporting people around asylum is rewarding and valuable. For me that’s the most scary and dangerous life-threatening area. Recently a service user was released from a detention centre and not deported back to a country where he’d already experienced torture and almost certainly would have been killed. Another asylum seeking person has also been granted leave to remain. It’s hard to say what is most satisfying because lots of people we work with feel suicidal, self-harm and have extreme anxiety. Supporting all of those clients is endlessly rewarding.
Brucey bonus question! If you are an animal what would you be and why?
Oh, goodness. That’s really difficult! I want to be a spoilt cat so I’m looked after but cats also do whatever they want. I am a massive dog lover and I want to be my dog because I gave her the best life ever. I also want to be a dolphin to be in the sea. I’m a Libran how can I choose?!