By Dean Lloyd
Ever since I was a teenager, I have been interested in the field of mental health. I took psychology at A-Level out of curiosity and quickly became fascinated by it. The impact of stress and the psychology of altruism are just a couple of the topics covered during that time which still spring to mind some sixteen years later. I don’t think that’s a mere coincidence and I think they planted the seeds for some personal growth of my own during my 20s.
I’m almost 33 now and after leaving college, I went to work with the intention of saving money to go to university, but I never did get around to going. While I knew I wanted to do something involving mental health and psychology, I wasn’t quite sure of my pathway and university had lost some appeal, as courses seemed to me to focus too much on research and not enough on directly helping people. Research is incredibly important, but it just didn’t feel like me.
Being made redundant in 2015, at a time when I was already struggling with anxiety, was incredibly detrimental to my wellbeing. I didn’t want to go anywhere and yet I had to if I wanted to get better. Eventually, I started working part-time while looking for something more permanent and substantial. After a couple of years of soul-searching and unsuccessful job applications, a chance conversation with my cousin brought up the idea of training to be a counsellor. He had finished training a couple of years before and the course would be easy to work around my part-time job. Finally, it seemed like I could see a way forward.
At time of writing, I have completed two of the four years required to achieve that qualification. Learning about altruism and helping people all those years ago at A-Level must have appealed in way that I didn’t quite understand at the time. I believe it was only through accessing services myself and having a positive experience that I began to understand. Shortly after passing my driving test, I saw a vacancy advertised at Harmless and knew I had to apply. It seemed like a natural progression considering my interest in mental health and psychology, as well as having previously worked in customer service and admin roles.
While my position is not one that involves direct client work, I know that is something I want to do in the future. For now, I am happy doing what I can to help the team provide the services people need during stressful times. While I haven’t self harmed myself, I do understand from personal experience and my own learning what can drive people to do this. People react differently to all kinds of circumstances, so I endeavour to treat people as people, and not reduce them in my mind to their behaviours or condition(s).
If you found any of Dean’s story familiar or if it particularly spoke to you, you might be interested in one of our current vacancies. You can find them all here.
By Dean Lloyd