Martha H.

Co-producer at a mental health college
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Martha H.
United Kingdom

My employment

Co-producer at a mental health college
The Exchange Recovery College
United Kingdom
Small business (0-49 employees)

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A day in the life of a Co-producer at a mental health college in the United Kingdom

Internship focused on co-producing courses for adults with mental health conditions

What I do

I co-produce courses at a recovery college for adults with mental health conditions. The two courses which I have facilitated this Summer are called 'Understanding your mental health' and 'Communication and social skills'. These courses are targeted at individuals who have learning difficulties alongside a mental health issue.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Communication skills are a key part of co-production. After each session I research ideas which are shared and modified before potentially being incorporated into the courses. I work alongside an Occupational Therapist who has provided excellent guidance on how to differentiate ideas for the unique needs of individuals on the course. In addition, working with professional in the field has given me an invaluable insight into the requirements on an NHS ran organisation.

What I like most

My favourite thing about my placement is engaging with staff and users. I have learnt so much about my career path by talking with people in the field. This has confirmed for me the job I hope to have in the future, and secured my interest in mental health. Seeing first hand the positive influence the college has on individuals is extremely rewarding and something which I hope to achieve throughout my career.

How I looked for work

I live nearby a user of the Recovery college who I often talk to about her experience. She has benefited hugely from the services that they offer. This lead me to contact the college through a number which I found online, as this was something which I was eager to be a part of. I found that ringing the organisation was much more efficient than other forms of communication as I was able to express my interest and receive a direct answer. Following this I arranged a meeting to go into the college and talk to staff face to face.

How I found out about the job

Personal contacts

The recruitment process

I started communication with the college in April following an informal interview for a volunteer position. This allowed plenty of time before my Summer start date to fill in paper work and begin the process of becoming an NHS volunteer. I would strongly recommend starting the process as early as possible as, when working with vulnerable people, there are a lot of forms and procedures which must be undertaken. For example, I was unable to start the placement before receiving a DBS certificate which was a lengthy process.

My advice to students considering work

Apply to as many relevant placements as you can, as the organisation of some healthcare establishments is poor due to a busy workload. Follow up online applications with a phone call as this is the best way to begin a relationship with staff and to chase up a meeting. Don't be reluctant to ask questions as this is the best way to learn and develop communication!

Next steps...

If you like the look of Martha’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Martha a message to find out more about their career journey.

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