"Being part of reducing the stigma of mental health is so important"

Intern

I want people to talk about their mental health challenges – whether it’s to a friend, family member, or mental health professional. I want to encourage them to take that step to talk, to know that they don’t need to hide it, that it’s not embarrassing.

I was an intern at Brighton and Hove Recovery College for ten weeks.

It’s the first job of mine that’s been rewarding and it has definitely reinforced my plans to work in mental health and wellbeing.

This was the only Graduate Internship at Sussex University that I was interested in. I did a degree in Psychology and want to become a therapist and so an organisation focusing on wellbeing and being an aid for people’s recovery was really attractive.

My role was primarily to organise the Move On Day which is an annual event where local organisations come together to offer volunteering opportunities, activities, and advice and support to students seeking employment.

The Move On Day is a response to students saying they felt lost as to what to do next after completing their courses. Move On Day offers opportunities for them to maintain the wellbeing and independence they have gained as students at the Recovery College, and to keep them engaged as members of a community.

Places like the Recovery College and the organisations that attend Move On Day are so important and do such good work.

Being part of reducing the stigma of mental health is so important. I think it’s getting better, it’s certainly decreasing. I’ve seen changes since I was in school seven or eight years ago.

I want people to talk about their mental health challenges – whether it’s to a friend, family member, or mental health professional. I want to encourage them to take that step to talk, to know that they don’t need to hide it, that it’s not embarrassing. There are a lot of opportunities out there to help them live with their challenges.

What surprised me the most during my internship was the amount of independence I had in organising the event. I was given nudges in the right direction but I was pleasantly surprised by how many decisions I could make. It’s given me a massive confidence boost being trusted to make those decisions and my manager said she’s seen a huge change in me over the ten weeks.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done. It’s been a great opportunity to build on my skills and the knowledge I learnt from my degree and it has set me up to apply for jobs in a similar environment.

It’s reinforced in me that I want to work with people who have mental health challenges and help them realise there’s still hope and that they’re not alone.

I think Southdown and the Brighton and Hove Recovery College are an extremely valuable organisation and the work here is really inspiring.

It’s been a very inspirational internship.

Delivered as a partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Brighton and Hove Recovery College uses education in a supportive learning environment to help people with mental health challenges become experts in their own self-care and recovery. The College provides a wide range of courses which are co-produced and co-delivered by people with lived experience of mental health challenges and are delivered in community and educational venues across Brighton and Hove.