Dom Taylor, External Affairs Intern, Money and Mental Health
Introducing: Dom Taylor
25 March 2022
Beginning a new job can be a daunting task, as anyone will tell you, and with this being my first paid role in a charity with nation-wide ambitions, the typical anxieties were multiplied ten-fold. Thankfully, in my first two weeks as Money and Mental Health’s new External Affairs Intern, the standard ‘new job jitters’ have been overcome. Given the charity’s commitment to ensuring accessibility for people with mental health problems, it’s more than fitting that their own workplace culture emphasises measured and effective eye for employee wellbeing. From drafting a personal ‘Wellness Action Plan’, to being directed to an array of reasonable adjustments on offer, Money and Mental Health’s sense of responsibility for its employees’ wellbeing is admirable and I’d hope that becomes the norm for every organisation.
I’ve joined Money and Mental Health two years into my career in the third sector. After graduating from university, like countless young people, into the beginning of a pandemic, I was met with a strong sense of uncertainty. Despite taking great delight in studying International Relations and immersing myself in local politics over the course of four years, my once deep-seated aspirations of entering national politics were all but stalled in the face of a national crisis. Facing a crossroads, I spent time volunteering with charities – hoping that, if not transforming my career ambitions, I’d at least have the chance to help people at a time of crisis.
Thankfully, my first year in the third sector provided me with a much clearer sense of direction. I saw first-hand the tremendous impact that small teams of hard-working individuals could have on their communities, but noticed a recurring theme throughout my time there. From helping at food waste initiatives, to training with Citizens Advice, I grew all too aware of how frequently the financial difficulty clients experienced intersected with poor mental health and vice versa. As someone with lived experience of poor mental health, I never lost sight of the fact that I was statistically more likely to end up relying on the services I was currently providing. We know that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health condition each year; if that isn’t us directly, it’s a colleague, friend or family member. By this measure, wanting a more accessible world for people like myself feels neither self-serving or selfless – it’s a goal that is in everyone’s best interest.
Increasingly, however, it felt as though my work could only really treat the symptoms of institutional barriers, as opposed to the barriers themselves. This is not to say that my efforts were not time well spent, but I wanted the chance to work at tackling the root causes. It was this drive that led me to applying for Money and Mental Health’s internship. As a member of their Research Community, I was already familiar with the importance of their work, and how perfectly their aims and values aligned with my own.
Having had the pleasure of being brought up to speed with our past and ongoing projects, I’m beyond excited to get stuck in. The team’s enthusiasm is infectious; beyond offering a warm and encouraging welcome, each and every member describes their work with passion that I already feel myself living up to. Aside from this, what makes working for Money and Mental Health so rewarding is the clear sense of purpose. The commitment to making tangible changes to the lives of people with mental health problems through research and policy is something I’m thrilled to be able to contribute towards over the next six months.