Occupation: Youth Worker & Poet
Hobbies: Netflix & chill, napping & Pokémon Go
Favourite Food: Burgers
Favourite Music: hip hop
Favourite Hip-Hop Artist: Tupac
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a 23-year-old youth worker and poet. I live in Fulham with my cat Proust. I am also a Pokémon Master.
Can you tell us about your personal experience with mental health?
Yeah, sure, when I was growing up, my mother struggled with Bi-polar disorder and my father wasn’t around. This made it difficult for my mum to raise me and my two younger brothers. She developed a drinking problem to help cope, but it resulted in me and my brothers being put into care.
I myself have been diagnosed with depression. I have been recently discharged from therapy and I am also taking medication for it.
Is the medication useful?
Initially it made me constantly sleepy. However, after a minor adjustment it got better. I feel the medication has helped me get a job and work towards my goal.
What else helped you overcome some of your struggles?
My social worker has been really great. I also have a really amazing support network; friends, family & my foster family. I have also found volunteering in mental health helpful. The people I work with understand what I am going through and I can make a difference.
From your experience, what do you feel can be done to improve mental health services in general?
I think involving young people much more in the decision making process of mental health services is vital. It helps create a better service and the experiences of being involved will help improve young peoples own mental health in the long run. I think the best way to do that is through the model of co-production, which involves young people directly in the creation, delivery and evaluation of mental health services.
Tell us more about volunteering with Rethink Mental Illness.
I have been volunteering with for Rethink for the past three and a half years. I have been involved in many co-production projects over the years. An example is the “MiC” project. This was a pilot study we did in 2013. We gathered feedback and views of young people in care in west London, some who had transitioned from child mental health services to adult ones. We analysed their feedback and were able to use the data to develop training for teachers and social workers to help improve the experience of young people in similar situations.
What are you currently doing with Rethink?
I am working on a mental health conference designed for young people who live in Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster. We are going to include interactive workshops, special guest performances, volunteering opportunities and much more.
Are you going to be performing?
Maybe, I guess you will have to come along to find out.
Catch I am Hip Hop Magazine at the Rethink ‘Invisible Struggles’ Conference on October 29th 2016.
Are you aged 16–25?
Are you interested in mental health?
Do you live in Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham or Westminster boroughs?
You are invited to Invisible Struggles – A young people’s mental health conference
Date: 29th October 2016
Location: Hammersmith (see website for more details)
What is included:
Two course meal
Special guest performances
Freebies & goodie bags
What you can gain:
Resilience building tools
Understanding of available services and support in your local area
Networking with like other young like minded individuals
Book your free tickets via http://invisiblestruggles.eventbrite.co.uk
Visit www.rethink.org/invisiblestruggles for more information