Hillpark Secondary School (2003-2009); University of the West of Scotland (2010-2014); University of Glasgow (2014-2015, and 2016 – Present)
Standard Grades; Highers; B.A.(Hons); MSc; MRes
Several part-time jobs during University, including retail, writing, tutoring, and support work
University of Glasgow
I study the beliefs that people with psychosis have about mental health, what they do to look after themselves, and what help they would like to see provided in the future.
I studied Psychology (B.A. Hons) at the University of the West of Scotland from 2010 to 2014. I then went to the University of Glasgow and gained a Masters (MSc) in Global Mental Health from 2014-2015 – focusing on what mental health means to different people around the world, and how they treat it. My research during this time included looking at how mental health volunteer’s dealt with stress, and what therapies helped abused children – so very wide ranging! During this time I also had a part-time job in retail, and volunteered in many places with people having problems with their mental health, including; Scottish Association for Mental Health, British Red Cross, St. Andrew’s Ambulance, and even abroad in Romania!
In 2016 I went back to Glasgow Uni for doctoral research, and am currently doing a ‘research year’ (MRes). This year I’ll be looking at how people with a serious mental health issue, such as Psychosis, Bipolar, or Schizophrenia look after themselves during a Benefits sanction. After that I am hoping to work with the local Roma community to understand the same thing, as well as ‘traditional’ medicine and using hospitals, and then work with them to make a treatment they would be happy to use.
I usually use ‘qualitative’ methods, which means I do a lot of interviews with people so I can hear their story. I then read over this information several times to understand their story. Although I have also used statistical models – looking at numerical data that measures peoples’ behaviour around seeking help.
My research to date has found that:
Mental health volunteers can get very stressed and worn out, and need proper support in place to help them deal with this.
Therapy that helps parents and children talk to one another after abuse can work, but only in the right setting.
Benefit sanctions can make people even more unwell, both in their body and mind, and they use a number of different things to help themselves feel better, like reading, and exercise. I am still in the middle of hearing people’s stories around this.
My next research project aims to:
Understand how Roma individuals look after themselves, and others with mental health problems, and their use of ‘traditional’ medicine and beliefs.
Design a treatment to help Roma individuals with serious mental health problems live happily in their communities.
This treatment will hopefully then be integrated into the psychological services already available.
My Typical Day
Lots of writing; reports, reviews, articles. Meeting, and talking to new people from all different walks of life.
A typical day for me just now involves; getting up early and heading to the University campus. Hopefully finding a table to set up my work (I don’t have my own desk space yet) – which can be difficult if the campus is very busy! My research just now is in phases – so, I’ve been doing a lot of writing over the past month, looking at what research as already been done. Soon, I’ll be interviewing people about how they take care of themselves during a sanction. I also write about mental health for several magazines, journals, and websites.
Some days I like to work from home in my ‘office’
really it’s just my work spread over the bed and floor! But doing this saves on time (it can take me over an hour to get from home to the campus), and is usually more comfy!
If I’m on campus, I’ll usually work from 9am to 5pm, with some breaks in between, and maybe even a gym class, this is my usual view
It could be a lot worse!
If I’m lucky I can maybe find a desk closer to the main building, which is usually a nice view too
Buildings like this on campus is why the University of Glasgow is sometimes called Hogwarts. If I’m working from home I tend to start a little later, and depending on how I feel, work well past midnight, but I try to stop for 10pm and get to bed!
My work can also include presenting papers, posters, and talks like this at conferences anywhere in the world
And this, along with previous voluntary, and work experiences has taken me to some interesting places, like Transylvania in Romania (the birthplace of the real Dracula!)
So it’s not all boring!
What or who inspired you to follow this career?
Reading the story of Hypatia of Alexandria, and also because I never seen any other disabled people higher up in Psychology.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be in the same career as you?
Get as much hands-on experience as you can! People will tell you you can’t do it, but as long as you love it, try, try, try again!
What do you see as your next step in your career?
I’d love to work for an NGO
What other sorts of jobs can you do with your qualifications?
Anything really, in Unis, hospitals, charities. You name it…
What's the best part of your current job?
Speaking to lots of new, and interested people!
What don't you like about your current job?
I also work alone alot.