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Luke Groom, Trainee Clinical psychologist joins in2gr8mentalhealth for his placement!

Hello! It is a real honour and privilege to be placed with in2gr8mentalhealth for one of my trainee placements. I have followed Natalie and in2gr8mentalhealth progress in the mental health scene since its inception in 2017. I continue to be in awe of and am blown away by in2gr8’s passion to destigmatise lived experience for mental health professionals. I hope my presence will further inspire, empower, and bring further enthusiasm (with loads already!) to increase in2gr8mentalhealth presence in the mental health scene and to establish changes to ensure mental health professionals lived experiences are no longer made to feel stigmatised and ashamed by their mental health distress!

My placement with ingr8mentalhealth is hugely personal! Since a teenager, I have suffered with and continue to struggle with mental health distress which has and continues to drive my passion to be a clinical psychologist and advocate for and facilitate changes to NHS mental health systems which in my experience, tend to operate under the guise of trying to be ‘helpful’ but in fact can cause further harm, particularly for the professionals working in them.

I am saddened to say that prior to and during my journey on clinical training, I, like so many others, have been made to question the usefulness of my lived experience, something I felt would be an asset to my work. There is something incredibly powerful about the empathy and hope that you can gift someone with similar difficulties to your own. Many times, I have been subject to fear, stigma and shame when sharing my mental health difficulties and truly appreciate and understand being made to feel you should not ‘exist’ or be ‘present’ in the mental health scene as a mental health professional with lived experience. I share my lived experience so cautiously in a bid to protect myself from further shame and stigma as I continue through training and ‘survive’ toxic NHS systems. It has been incredibly refreshing to join an organisation like in2gr8 that fully embraces lived experience, with kindness, sensitivity, and compassion, particularly from clinical psychologists, an experience I have been longing for and hope to enact as I support other trainees and mental health professionals with lived experience on training and once qualified!

I am incredibly excited to get going with various projects with in2gr8, which I hope you’ll love! I am incredibly passionate about increasing access to support in its various forms to enable all to benefit. In response, I am supporting Helen, in2gr8’s Chief Operating Officer to centralise training to Clinical psychology training courses and the support offered to mental health professionals which includes a webinar series. This will build on the amazing work of Natalie and Anna which started in 2017. Hooray! I will also be creating a tool that is co-produced with mental health professionals to ‘evaluate’ the support offered by in2gr8 with the aim to improve peer mentoring support and to support with gaining further funding. I will be involved in the current peer mentoring group space, and I will be sharing the research findings of the previous group far and wide (see poster below), with further changes also made to the website including a new ‘welcome video’ from Natalie and Helen (if they will let me!). The enthusiasm for ingr8mentalhealth and what they do is so infectious, and I would love for them to gift this to the community and beyond! Lastly, I am helping Don McJimpsey, our fantastic trainee art psychotherapist, in preparing for and launching the inside-outsider art exhibition in October! .As always, I will remain an activist for ingr8mentalhealth on their social media platform.

I hope my time with in2gr8mentalhealth can help to repay the enormous generosity ingr8mentalhealth gifts others and in return I hope I to gift with the same passion and enthusiasm in return!

Below, pictures of Luke presenting his poster on the Service Related Project he has done with us at in2gr8mentalhealth CIC, with the support of fellow trainee Dafni Katsampa. He met with some of the mental health professionals with lived experience of mental health difficulties who have joined a PeerSpace, and talked with them in focus groups about what they thought about it. Thank you Luke for helping us to raise up these voices and the work we conceived from our lived experience of mental health difficulties ourselves here at in2gr8. We learned how to travel and challenge the stigma of the mental health scene, and it is only ever done in community and in solidarity with allies. We create a community here that is a powerful hub of resistance to systemic stigma and mutual nourishment whilst we're at it.

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