I studied for my psychology degree as a mature student, while working for UPS in a pretty lucrative role – my managers promised me better roles and a higher salary, but I found that the corporate world just didn’t motivate me.
Alongside my degree I also volunteered as a ChildLine counsellor and at a nearby substance user recovery service, and I knew that I wanted to have a positive impact on people’s lives and to make a difference in a tangible way.
I was attracted to social work as I believe social workers have a huge and beneficial impact on the lives of people with mental health problems. I chose the Think Ahead programme as it gave me the chance to have the maximum positive impact, by working in the community from the start.
My values and ethical principles have been influenced by my cultural upbringing and faith – alongside the difficulties and hardships that come from growing up in a minority ethnic community and migrant family, I also witnessed the suffering caused by my mother’s severe epilepsy from a very young age.
The death of my grandfather was also very difficult for us all and the anxieties that arose from seeing the effects of my mother’s illness first-hand, as well as my experiences with loss and bereavement, are part of what motivated my passion for understanding the mind and human behaviour.
If you have a passion for mental health, promoting recovery and having a positive impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society, the Think Ahead programme can provide you with the tools you need for a career in mental health social work.
I have a number of hopes for my future as a mental health social worker. I hope to maintain my passion to empower those with mental illness to lead fulfilling lives; to maintain my values of seeing the strengths in people rather than stigmatising labels; to advocate for those whose voices are not heard; to empower their independence, their individuality, their wishes and aspirations, and to be a supporting hand in their journey of recovery.