"Having really supportive management has really kick-started my career"

Psychology Graduate Intern

My own challenging life experiences, both personally and to people close to me, made me determined to help other people in those circumstances. It’s really rewarding using your own experiences to help others. I’ve been able to support people who use the Centre and the College in times of distress and see that it’s had an impact.

I’m a Graduate Intern Support Worker at Preston Park Recovery Centre.

I used to work as a make-up artist but I wanted something more cognitively challenging so I studied psychology at Sussex University.

I graduated last year and the University offered me a local graduate position for ten weeks full-time. They offer these opportunities to students who haven’t found a graduate level job.

I was already training to be a Student Buddy at the Recovery College because I really wanted to work there, so when I heard about this opportunity I called the College and began working there as a Psychology Graduate with one day a week at Preston Park Recovery Centre!

My own challenging life experiences, both personally and to people close to me, made me determined to help other people in those circumstances. It’s really rewarding using your own experiences to help others. I’ve been able to support people who use the Centre and the College in times of distress and see that it’s had an impact.

When I started working at the Recovery College, I was given a project to work on which was to plan a Move On Day to give students an informal opportunity to talk to local organisations specialising in anything from employment to creative and activity groups, to volunteer opportunities.

It was really good, it really helped me understand what services are available in the local area and how fortunate we are in Brighton. Because the Recovery College is so popular it’s nice to be able to signpost students to other services, and encourage them to try other things concurrently or new opportunities to move on to.

Everyone at the Recovery College is so supported and it’s amazing to see people with lived experience of mental health challenges model hope for people who are currently going through difficult times. They use their experiences in a positive way.

The model we use in Southdown services means everyone is treated equally. Clients and students thrive knowing that those who support them have been through it themselves - it increases trust. It’s also valuable to have specialist clinicians so you get a richer level of support.

At Preston Park Recovery Centre, I have helped build connections with Brighton Health Walks and various other activities for the people who use the centre.

My favourite piece of work has been co-creating and developing the Young Person’s Group. I loved building something from scratch and having free reign to think about what would increase engagement with young people - and doing it with them, seeking their ideas.

A group for young people is needed because when they leave childhood and adolescent services, all of a sudden they’re incorporated into adult services. Feedback has shown that this can be daunting for them. It’s been lovely to see a transitional group like ours come together and work.

What I’ve loved so much is seeing young people who were anxious and lacking confidence, come to the group regularly for the connections they’ve built with each other. It’s been really nice to see them physically come out of their shell, seeing them smile and engage with the other people at the centre.

This internship and experience has been amazing. I’ve been given basic training in how Recovery Workers support people here. I absolutely loved studying and really enjoyed the academic side of things, but it lacks hands-on mental health experience and that’s what’s been so valuable here.

My work here has given me the opportunity to get frontline experience working with people with mental health difficulties. It’s confirmed my ability that I can work with people through their distress and that my choice to pursue a career in mental health was the right one.

At the end of April, I’ll be working as a Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner with a Sussex Partnership Wellbeing Service. The position also includes further university study and even though it’s hard to leave here, in the long-term this move will enable me to achieve my career goal as a therapist.

Everyone in the staff team has a really varied background and seeing how there are multiple ways of dealing with similar situations has given me a good toolbox to take forward.  Some of the tools I bring are empathy and patience in times of need. I really enjoy listening to people and building connections.

My experience in knowing that humans all go through difficulties in their life, and that these can often be temporary, gives me faith that difficult times will pass for our clients too.

I would recommend a graduate internship to absolutely anyone.

Having really supportive management has really kick-started my career. It will be really good to use my experiences of the person-centred approach used at Preston Park Recovery Centre and the Recovery College in my new role.

This opportunity has really enriched my experience with working with people, increased my confidence, and helped me get a new job which I’m really grateful to Southdown for.

 

 

Preston Park Recovery Centre provides a welcoming and supportive environment in which people with mental health support needs can receive individual support, learn new skills and get involved in a variety of groups and activities. The Centre also provides access to our specialist employment service, a welfare benefits service and can refer onto other services such as housing and health.

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.