International Men’s Day 2022 – John’s Blog

As part of International Men’s Day 2022, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the issues affecting men and boys and showing that a career in the charity and care sector is something men can aspire to.

As one of the largest mental health charities in England, people we support often come to work for us themselves. Lived experience is something we’re passionate about as an organisation.

John, an Employment Advisor at our Cambridgeshire Employment service tells us about his journey from a person we support, to his current role in our charity.

“Like everyone, we all have a story to tell, something that shapes us into who we are today. My story is a long one so I will try and make this as concise as possible.

I am a 48-year-old male. I would say I first experienced mental ill health in my early to mid-teens. I can say now that I didn’t fully acknowledge my wellbeing or respect the connection to my physical health as I was growing up but that was the attitude and culture of the day at the time.

I had a pessimistic attitude. I had a breakdown in February 2012 due to work and I made the decision to leave my employment the following month. My GP referred me to Richmond Fellowship straight away and I got to speak to an Employment Advisor quickly. I was receiving support from another mental health charity at the same time.

The support I received from Richmond Fellowship was exactly what I needed. That holistic approach to my recovery was key. I was also getting conflicting advice from the other charity regarding my employment situation, and I didn’t feel that they really helped with my mental health, not the way Richmond Fellowship did.

I noticed a vacancy for an Employment Advisor, while I was accessing the service and was supported to apply for the role I am doing today.

I was now embedded in a team where there were no issues between colleagues, and everyone wanted me to succeed and took the time to help me learn my job. I quickly realised that my attitude was changing from pessimistic to optimistic.

My job is to support individuals to find work or stay in their job but imbedded in that support is advice and guidance on maintaining and improving their mental health. I get to make their recovery a reality!

There are various figures out there. Basically men are three times more likely than women to take/end their life.

As a society we are slowly moving in the right direction, getting men to open up and talk about their mental health, moving away from the macho ‘men don’t cry’ and ‘man up’ culture. Having man caves, Men’s Sheds, Andy’s Man Club and other smaller charities are an excellent opportunity for men to talk”.

Inspired to work for us? Check out our latest vacancies on our online jobs portal today.

If you’re a man struggling with your mental health or experiencing domestic abuse, please see our need urgent help page to signpost you to the correct services.

Richmond Fellowship is a national mental health charity and we welcome donations and fundraising to help support our frontline services. Click here to fundraise or donate to us today!

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