There’s a real focus on personal development on the degree – you get to learn a lot about yourself. I think it’s amazing that your growth as a person is an integral part of the course.
As a young carer looking after my mum, I’ve got a lot of first-hand experience of how mental health services work and the effects that mental health issues can have on people’s lives. That was my main inspiration to go into the field of mental health and once I started researching it, I found it fascinating. I’m really interested in how the brain works, and how the brains of people with mental health problems may be different.
There’s a real focus on personal development on the degree – you get to learn a lot about yourself. I think it’s amazing that your growth as a person is an integral part of the course. You might have to change things about yourself to be the best practitioner you can be, so finding out about yourself really helps when you’re trying to get others to understand themselves. It’s almost like getting free counselling. I’ve discovered so much about who I am through personal development.
I enjoy the practical side of the degree. We do a lot of ‘circle work’ where we experience group therapy and counsel each other. Volunteers also came in to be counselled and that was a real eye opener. It was the first time I’d practised on real people with their own issues that they wanted to talk about. It was hard to keep an emotional distance and remain professional as there were a lot of tears and I just wanted to give them a hug! It made me realise how tough being a counsellor can be as well as how rewarding. I learnt so much in that one day. I came away with an even greater passion and drive to make this my career.
Eventually, I’d like to work with young people’s mental health. Young people’s minds are so interesting and mental health is such an important topic at the moment. If you can discover mental health problems early you can prevent people suffering with serious mental health issues in adulthood. A lot of children slip through the net and by the time they do get help, they can be really unwell people. If you can change a child’s life, that’s one of the greatest things you could probably do.