Mental Health Awareness at Poached Creative

I joined Poached Creative as a press office volunteer after three years of unemployment due to mental health difficulties.

I’ve been delighted to realise this is an office where I can be open about my diagnosis and some of the ways this impacts me, without fear of prejudice.   I am valued for my work and for what I bring to the organisation, not judged for my historical or current health status.

It’s hard to express how important this is for me, and how lucky I feel to have found such an opportunity.  Put simply, it is everything.

In the past I was told by careers advisors that it would be best if I kept my mental health history a secret from future employers and colleagues.  I know myself, and I know that doing that would only add to my anxiety in the workplace.

Feeling safe in the office, as I do at Poached Creative, removes a massive source of anxiety for me and actually makes it less likely to impact on my work.

I first realised that Poached Creative was going to be a safe place for me when I applied to join the online journalism course that they run with The Big Issue and which I completed in April, prior to starting work with them.  Before my interview for the course I looked at their website, and was impressed to read about Catriona’s experience with them utilizing the permitted paid work scheme, as well as Deputy Director Angela’s story of recovery from depression.

This told me that Poached Creative is a place which recognises the talents of those of us who have had problems with our mental health, rather than dismissing us.  It told me that I could be open with them, without being defined by my diagnosis.  They would look at me as a whole person, not just a label.

I now see this evidenced directly each day in the office.  Having stimulating and worthwhile work to do in a supportive office environment is helping me to regain my confidence and sense of self-worth as well as improving my skills for future paid employment, and I feel extremely lucky to be here.

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