• Rebecca West

Being the difference in mental health

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

I think its time to change the way we offer our mental health services to those we want to support.

After all, I thought that was what it was all about, helping people.

The power of being different

I am a bit of an anomaly when it comes to my industry, i'm mixed race, young and a school counsellor at a state secondary school. It does not fit the stereotype of white, middle aged psychologists running a private practise in a wealthy suburb but being different I have always seen as a blessing rather than a curse. Now more than ever, being BAME has never been more important in order to connect with clients who are reliving or still living in systemic racism. Being different will by nature cause you to see the world from a unique perspective which is what makes difference so special and so powerful.

There are many ways you can choose to use your difference but I choose to use it to fill the gap that I see in society, which is providing therapy for young people, parents and caring professionals.

This may not seem ground breaking but I feel passionately about supporting this particular audience because of the never-ending needs within families and their children, whether its academic pressures, bullying or financial crisis, the complexities of what families face today can seem impossible to support. Now Covid - 19 has hit, I worry about the impact this has had on our most vulnerable families who already were in crisis but now have been cut off from the support networks they and their children so desperately need.

Caring professionals, such as teachers, care workers, nurses etc are our life life during these lockdown times and yet their pressures have existed long before Covid 19. The huge burn out and turn over of staff in these industries is not because people do not like their jobs but because of the lack of consistent and caring spaces for employers to feel seen and heard. I myself have worked in these industries and I know that if I was offered a safe nurturing space to be invested in it would have gone a long way to making me feel I was a valued employee.

Your idea can make the difference

Okay preach over! I believe that if we rant about something and do nothing about it, it just stays as that, a RANT! Often if your the one who spots an issue that needs addressing your often the one that can actually do something about it. Changing the world never happened overnight, it always happened when an ordinary person who thought differently made a commitment to make daily steps towards going beyond words and into action.

I am so passionate about closing the gap for this audience because I see the incredibly positive impact quality therapy has when it is trusted and given a chance to be experienced. But more importantly, I think families and those who care for people are our unsung heroes in society that often get used, devalued and ignored rather than celebrated, supported and invested in.

So keep being a pioneer for change, your idea and your difference are the key to making our world a better place.

Stay Safe, Stay Different & Stay Brave

Becky West

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