Cara MacSherry, External Affairs Intern, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Introducing: Cara MacSherry

27 July 2023

  • Cara MacSherry has joined Money and Mental Health as the charity’s new External Affairs Intern. 
  • Cara was drawn to the internship because of the focus on personal development and training. 
  • She was drawn to Money and Mental Health given her experience working with people in vulnerable situations and her interest in improving people’s quality of life. She is excited to contribute to the important work produced by Money and Mental Health.

Why Money and Mental Health?

The cost of living crisis, coupled with the aftershocks of a global pandemic, are perhaps the most pressing issues for most people today. The intrinsic link between mental health problems and financial difficulties is well-proven and, often, an underserved issue. 

Mental health issues were exacerbated for many during the Covid pandemic, and with the NHS under significant strain, it is not alarmist to state that the situation for many people is dire. It is these realities that make the work of Money and Mental Health so crucial. 

As I neared the end of my time in education, it was important to me that whatever job I would eventually acquire would be focused upon obtaining real improvements in policy, and society at large. When I came across this internship, I was immediately struck by  Money and Mental Health’s people-centred focus , and the empathy for and importance of the lived experience of its Research Community

My background

Four years ago, I had just graduated from university, and imminently expected the arrival of my son, who was born a handful of weeks later. For the next two years, through the Covid pandemic, I was reliant on the welfare system for financial support. My own lived experience means that the work of Money and Mental Health is very close to my heart. 

In 2021, I re-entered education and found work in the charity and voluntary sector in Belfast. My work at a mobility charity gave me first hand insight into how the lockdowns affected many people, especially older and disabled people. Isolation from friends, families and the wider community continue to have ramifications today. So I felt great purpose in our work helping to alleviate this isolation and connect people to their community again. 

At this time, I was also volunteering with a refugees’ rights think tank. Its aim is to combat the harmful rhetoric towards refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants on social media, and in the wider national media. The way we talk about people in the most vulnerable situations in our society, such as refugees and older people, is very important. Both my professional and academic experiences have taught me the importance of language, empathy and empowerment. I hope to uphold this in my work at Money and Mental Health. 

Hopes for the future

From my first hour in this role, I have been met with a warm welcome and such encouragement and support. It has been clear from my first days how everyone has a clear idea of the goals and aspirations of the organisation, with enthusiasm to achieve them. The common purpose and mutual support between teams and staff members is compelling and makes Money and Mental Health a very positive and vibrant work environment. 

The internship also promised to focus on my professional development, this was very encouraging and something I could benefit from. It was clear from the beginning not only could I bring my own skills to assist in the wider goals of the organisation, but that this organisation would help me develop and grow, so that I may continue to provide such service into the future. 

I can only hope I can be as beneficial to the work of Money and Mental Health as their mentorship of me undoubtedly will be. In my first week I have observed the launch of Money and Mental Health’s latest report, Breaking the Cycle. I have witnessed first-hand how months of hard work have come to fruition and culminated in important and rigorous research and policy proposals. 

I am excited to be part of the upcoming projects and campaigns that Money and Mental Health has planned for later in 2023. Money and Mental Health produces reports, insights, and policy proposals that every person within the organisation can be very proud to be a part of.