Thursday 1 October 2015

What's going on?

A long overdue update from me.

In a nutshell, things are good.  At times, excellent. 

The Boy is a delight, and continues to amaze us every day with the funny things he says and does.  His current obsession is TRAINS, and particularly Thomas and Friends.  He knows the names, colours, numbers, carriages, and freight of dozens of engines.  I'd never even heard of Stephen, or Mavis, or blinking Rheneus (sp?!).

He has settled in brilliantly at his local nursery, with only a few incidents of stray toys being thrown or snacks tipped over. He's learning new things every day, and it's lovely for example to hear him sing songs that someone else has taught him.  The Boy is growing up, and that's just as it should be.

The precious free time I now have is spent catching up around the house, and  working on my various projects.  I have so many irons in the fire I feel like I am running a metaphorical smiddy!  

I have an arrangement now with Dads Matter UK, to provide project management support across their work.  This means I get to work with some inspirational people and build on my skills.  I also get plenty of opportunities to "network" and build up my contacts within the industry.  I was at a fabulous event last week, the launch of Elaine Hanzak's new book in Manchester, where I got to meet many friends and colleagues.  The buzz in the room was palpable and it was amazing to witness so many people from all over the UK working towards a common goal.

I am now an official director of the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, and am very excited about what the future holds for this organisation.  There is a huge opportunity coming up, to dramatically increase public awareness of perinatal mental illness, and we will be working hard on that over the coming months.  The PMHP has not been an easy "baby" to give birth to, but it has enormous potential.  

More locally, Cocoon Family Support (of which I am now a Trustee) is going from strength to strength as it builds up its peer support groups and counselling service.  I'm honoured to count founder Jessica and director Rosie as good friends.  It does not feel like work with those two in the team!  We are busy planning our reception at the Houses of Parliament later this month, working out who to invite and what to treat them to!

Finally, I am about to embark on my training to become a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor.  Once qualified, I plan to roll MHFA out to peer supporters across the maternal mental health industry.  I then plan to target corporates, to train MHFA champions in workplaces.  I am fortunate to be working with a dedicated training team at Dads Matter who are also committed to this vision.  I am quietly ambitious about the scope for MHFA.  The time for it is certainly now.

With all these projects to keep ahold of, I decided recently to take the plunge and set myself up as a sole trading enterprise.  Out Of My Mind was born in September 2015 and I have a nascent website and social media presence.  Our tag line is "mental health consulting and training - from a service user's perspective".  I find, for my own sanity's sake, it is good to think of all the different projects (as well as various media appearances and related work) under this one umbrella.  It is the embodiment of my "portfolio career"!  Do check it out at 

So there you have it.  There is plenty more I could mention, from a more personal perspective, but perhaps I will leave that for another time.  

Rosey, myself, Jessica and Eve at the Manchester event
Myself and the wonderful Elaine Hanzak
Tracey, Eve, Beth and Myself

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