Dom Taylor, External Affairs Intern, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
Reflections on my time with Money and Mental Health
20 December 2022
After a brilliant nine months with Money and Mental Health, my time as their External Affairs Intern now draws to a close. As we wind down for the festive break, here are a few thoughts and reflections on what I’ve learnt over the past while.
An opportunity to grow
I joined Money and Mental Health back in March of this year, having spent a couple of years volunteering and working part-time as a project assistant for a local charity in Northumberland. To work for a charity with national ambitions, centred around an issue that resonated with me personally, was an opportunity as exciting as it was daunting. I began my time here with a healthy touch of anxiety, but nevertheless determined to make an impact.
Within a few short weeks, I found myself completely engrossed in our work, coming to grips with our influencing strategy and being brought up to speed with our ongoing projects. I even managed to spend an afternoon in the Houses of Parliament which, once I’d moved past the initial giddiness of spotting relatively obscure MPs trudging around the lobby, proved to be a thoroughly engaging experience.
While the internship has allowed me to try my hand at all the various aspects of our External Affairs efforts – social media, website management, events and media relations, to name a few – it was our public affairs work that I was drawn the most to. All of this encouraged, and was encouraged by, my long-standing enthusiasm for all things political. I only hope the team will miss my ceaseless commentary on current affairs as much as I enjoyed clogging up our Slack channels with it.
Listening to lived experience
I’d be remiss to reflect on my time spent with Money and Mental Health without mentioning its Research Community – a near 5,000-strong network of people with lived experience of a mental health problem, volunteering their time and insight to help form our research and campaigns. As I mentioned in my first blog, I’m one of them and, having seen just how valuable the group’s insight is to Money and Mental Health’s work, I certainly aim to continue my involvement.
From listening to them speak at our events, to sitting in on calls with media volunteers, I’ve been consistently moved and inspired by the testimony of my fellow Research Community members. Despite positive moves towards destigmatising mental health, to speak so candidly about your lived experience, be it in-person or through responding to a survey, is no easy feat.
Beyond allowing me the chance to bid a fond farewell to the team, putting this blog together has been a welcome exercise in reflecting upon how far I’ve come personally and professionally over the past nine months. It’s with immense pride and gratitude that I leave this internship with a wealth of new skills to employ and memories to cherish.
I was particularly fortunate that, owing to some internal shifting within the team over the Autumn, I was offered the chance to have my time here extended by a few months. I was forewarned that the usual six months would fly by – and they did – but I can attest that nine months also passes in the blink of an eye. Such is the joys of working in a dynamic and fast-moving team. Nevertheless, thanks to the professionalism, generosity and warmth of every member of the team, I feel as though I’m well-placed to take the next step of my career with confidence.