Founder Dr Natalie Kemp speaks about this exciting transition, what in2gr8mentalhealth is about, and hopes for the future.
Video Transcript below
in2gr8mentalhealth was launched in October 2017 and campaigns to destigmatise, support and value the lived experience of mental health problems that so many of us can experience in our lifetime, not least also mental health professionals.
In these times, many more of us are now jobless or in real fear of losing their jobs - including myself I’m now unemployed as all contracts ended at the end of March. I have been jobless before, in 2015 when I was recovering from a mental health breakdown whilst in service as a clinical psychologist, after four years of clinical practice. I know how to be here again. In2gr8 was born from my breakdown and it’s been one of the gifts from it. My breakdown had great meaning for me, it was inevitable and needed to happen in order to fundamentally transform things that had got deeply painful. I have worked on in2gr8 voluntarily all this time whilst taking a local admin job – initially for my recovery and then as a support to my voluntary work.
Then I began to pick up some speaking opportunities in the mental health scene. I have spoken in 11 conferences for the BPS and PPN and been a visiting lecturer on the subject, to about 7 doctoral courses in clinical psychology and even been interviewed on BBC World News about it. I hold talks, workshops and advanced reading seminars, all of which encourage a systemic view to challenging the barriers and enablers to sharing lived experience in our profession… in reality, opening up conversations on how we can bring all of ourselves, without fear, to our training or qualified life. The answer lies in a full audit of internal staff systems and good guidance to everyone in the hierarchy around us. I use my clinical training when I deliver not only to table stigma and challenge it, but also to help understand or ‘formulate’ what is going on in the mental health system that has perpetuated it, and in turn, us and them divides in services. Once we understand the systemic factors which collude with or destroy mental health stigma, we can help change organisational culture to become more compassionate and valuing of people’s lived experience, and help the quality of staff mental health experience become much better. Never has this been more important in the time that I’ve been working than now.
Back to being jobless.
I have taken some time to think about how I can continue to give everything I can to destigmatise lived experience of mental health problems in the mental health professions and survive financially. Even before Covid hit, this was challenging as I was ahead of the curve in 2015 when I started voicing, and I still haven’t found employment focussed on this, in the way that makes sense for me to tackle it as someone who has this lived experience and who knows.
It also takes time to be ready to take next steps. Lockdown has given me that time.
So, I am really excited to say that, as of today, I have formed in2gr8mentalhealth into a ltd company, formally registered at Companies House. This feels like a huge step for me given everything I’ve been through and something I’m really proud to announce.
Covid has been the spur I needed to consolidate all my work so far in the staff mental health area, my lived, trained and qualified experience, in the hope that I can build a more financially secure life for myself, and support the running of the peer forum that I am rebuilding.
If you can’t find it, then build it! That was my mantra with developing the first peer forum. Now, I want to make what I love be all the work that I do and I’m starting from financial scratch!
I will now spend my time developing what in2gr8 will offer to each pillar of the mental health scene based on my experience, those are: training courses, Trusts and professional bodies. In time I hope I can expand to offer other mental health professionals with lived experience opportunities to join me in projects to inspire change. In2gr8mentalhealth has always prided itself on authentic speaking out, this won’t change, certainly not whilst I’m the owner and Chair of it!
The formation of this company today has been one of the gifts from my breakdown and the new and better life I found for myself after it, I will do my best with it. I am clear that I want to help instil this hope, confidence and sense of possibility in others who have struggled.
I look forward to updating you on further developments soon, one of which is of course the development of the series ‘in conversation with’ where I’ll be speaking to some mental health professionals with lived experience of mental health problems about their experience of navigating this. There are many of us, we’ve just been kept quiet. We are currently crowdfunding to get to our target and are at 85%! The link is below if you can help!
Thank you very much for continuing to listen to the in2gr8 message.