My ‘Mind Field’ journey back to work
A journey from the Return-to-work program (Mind Field) to Volunteering for Employment.
My Dorset Mind journey started in April 2022 when I joined Mind Field Program (Return to work). After attending this 6 week course, I applied for a volunteer position with the training team at Dorset Mind.
I was lucky enough to be selected for the position of “Volunteer Admin and Research Assistant.” I started volunteering with them in May 2022 and I was so pleased and excited to announce my full-time job offer during the last week of September 2022. It was just 6 months with them once a week and I couldn’t imagine how things have dramatically changed since then.
You might think, that’s it. It seems so straightforward, right? But that’s not true.
The whole story behind those six months says a lot…
Those six months
There was a ‘time’ when I had a well-settled job in 2013 but I also did not have the ‘time’ to do and manage that job due to raising and supporting my family simultaneously. It was difficult to expect support from the family to manage my personal and professional life, when everyone had expectations from me to support them.
Unfortunately, I had to quit.
And there was a ‘time’ when I was in the opposite situation when I had time to do a job, but I did not have a job – back in 2020.
My life changed hugely when we decided to leave India and planned to settle down in a new country. I can’t explain in words my state of mind and the thoughts that I carried with me when we landed here in the UK.
Landing in the UK during the pandemic was in itself a huge risk with a lot of uncertainties. I carried with me from India; thoughts and feelings of anxiety and depression, language and cultural differences, a career break of 10 years with little prior experience, family and societal pressure, long term social isolation, and much more.
Absolute anxiety about communicating with others, as English was my third language; and starting from scratch at the age of 40 with little prior experience in the UK was a big challenge for me! Although I was doing a lot from home to get a fresh start, that was not enough.
I had a lot of anxiety about meeting people socially, how to talk, and how an office might look like, in a different country.
Joining Mind Field and Dorset Mind
It was only when I joined the ‘Mind Field’ program, that I was provided with a secure place to share these feelings tI had been carrying for a long time. I found myself in a group of similar people where I no longer felt so alone on this journey.
I found Dorset Mind the place where I could talk about ‘How was I feeling?’ I have owe a huge gratitude from the bottom of my heart to Vick Ashley and Cathey, whose friendly and encouraging nature made an enormous impact on my life. I enjoyed how much effort they would put into the one-to-one discussions. It made a huge difference.
Their positivity really helped boost my morale. The program manager Vick’s kind support, motivation and guidance boosted my confidence and after the course she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and so I joined the training team as a Volunteer.
I found myself in a place with the core team; where I felt greeted, valued, included, supported, and cared for. I learned so much in those six months that I would not have been able to learn in the last two years when I was back home.
I can’t thank Dorset Mind enough for the time and kind support provided by the training team, the volunteering team, and the whole staff.
Although it was very difficult to leave the organisation and the team that supported me throughout this journey but that had to happen eventually.
I would sincerely urge Dorset Mind and the whole team to continue doing this great work with MindField and with their volunteers, because they all are so lucky to be in such a sector and in such a place where they can make such an impact on other people’s life.
Everyone wants to help others, but not everyone gets the opportunity.
I wanted to share what an impact Dorset Mind could make on others’ lives, in challenging times with a great listening ear. Your work and support are truly PRICELESS!
Today’s Guest Blogger
Thank you to the wonderful Sarika, who gave herself a fresh start by learning life skills with ‘Mind Field’ and pushing herself out of her comfort zone.
Help and Support
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your wellbeing. The group offers peer support. They help to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and group support we offer here.
If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123. NHS Dorset’s Helpline ‘Connection’ can be reached on 0800 652 0190. It’s also available 24/7.