Martin Knight is an adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman Service and a volunteer for Pixel Learning. He is passionate about raising awareness of mental health and is particularly interested in early invention for young people.
When I was approached by my sister, Hannah, to write a blog on mental health - I was initially apprehensive and slightly worried about what to write. Mental health is such an emotive and personal issue; I feel it can be very difficult to articulate how you feel. Although I come from a family heavily involved in mental health, I rarely think about my personal experiences and how they have shaped me as a person.
I believe that my time at social services was a period that really formed my thoughts on the matter and how it affects me. I worked for almost two years in palliative care and adult disabilities for Bromley Council. I was working with some of the most vulnerable families in the borough and I visited people who were having a really tough time.
At first, I was completely overwhelmed by people often suffering terrible hardship and the pressure that this put on their families. I felt helpless at times and I felt my contribution was nothing more than a drop in the ocean. It felt disconcerting to be dealing with people’s most intimate and sad moments knowing that it was my job and that the heart-breaking stories would keep on coming. I was starting to become distressed and my own mental health was starting to suffer.
One of my colleagues could see that the job was taking its toll and decided to offer some helpful words of advice. I was reminded that I was helping these families and doing the best that I could within challenging circumstances. I should view the positive impact of my work and be empathetic but professional. I couldn’t keep on taking my work home with me. I think this was a really important moment for me; someone had acknowledged my emotions and how difficult it was. In addition to this, I was given an insight on how to view my situation more positively. It can be easy to feel isolated and it’s reassuring to know there are caring and thoughtful people out there.
That’s why I’m delighted to be involved with ThinkWell. It’s great to be involved in an organisation that is helping young people discuss mental health and how there is always someone there for you. It’s great to be working with such a positive organisation and I’m looking forward to the upcoming success!
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