What is your role at St Nicks?
I’m really excited to be the new Thriving at Work Project Officer at St Nicks. I’ll be working with both employees and employers across York and the surrounding areas to support good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. We spend a lot of time at work and if it’s not a space we can feel safe in, it has a big impact on us and the organisations we work for. In my role I will be providing one-to-one mentoring and coaching support to individuals, which can be done onsite at St Nicks or online. I’ll also be working with local businesses to help them develop their strategies and processes to enhance their approach to mental health and wellbeing and create workplaces where everyone can thrive.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspires you to work in the mental health field and some of the projects you’ve been involved with?
I’ve always worked in the charity sector, firstly in social housing, and for the past 10 years in various non-clinical, mental health settings. What inspires me the most is being able to support people, groups and communities to make change happen; to set themselves goals and find ways of making them a reality. I have a background in mental health advocacy, and more recently I was a regional lead for Time to Change, England’s social movement to end mental health stigma and discrimination. I bring a lot of these experiences into the work I do now, empowering people to have a voice and make informed choices to best suit their wellbeing and their personal and professional goals. Alongside my role at St Nicks I also work on a freelance basis as a trainer, facilitator and consultant specialising in mental health lived experience leadership, stigma, inclusion and equalities.
What’s your favourite way to connect with nature?
I love being in the outdoors, whether it’s a walk in the hills, messing about on the river in my kayak or spending time in my garden growing veggies. I particularly love connecting with the changing of seasons. I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite season as they each have their own amazing qualities. I like how my walk to work changes all the time as we move through the year and I make a point of stopping and taking it all in. My mental health is always boosted by simply stepping outside and taking in a big breath of fresh air, particularly lovely cold air which always feels really grounding when it hits my lungs. On days when I feel stuck indoors, that’s sometimes all I need to do to recharge my batteries.
Who can access the Thriving at Work programme?
Individuals based in and around York, who are currently in employment and feel they are struggling with their mental health at work are eligible to access our one-to-one support. You don’t need to have a formal diagnosis, we’ll take a mentoring / coaching approach to help you explore what’s going on, what changes you’d like to make and how you can make them happen.
Any small to medium sized business or charity based in and around York can access our ‘Inclusive Employers’ support programme. Here we’ll be looking to work with business owners and senior leaders who want to create more mentally healthy workplaces for all of their staff. We’ll help you to identify what your current strengths and priorities are, to set goals and work towards them with the overall aim of creating a workplace where everyone can thrive; something that is always good for business!
This project is led by Better Connect and is part-funded by the EU European Social Fund and the Dept. of Work & Pensions. It is supported locally with match-funding provided by North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and HEY Smile Foundation.