Kate Langston, Intern, Money and Mental Health

What the Money and Mental Health internship has meant to me

Walking into work the last few weeks there has been a noticeable change in the air; the temperature feels warmer, the trees are in full leaf and an increasing number of people venturing out in t-shirts and shorts. This can only mean that summer is on it’s way and I am officially coming toward the end of my internship at Money and Mental Health.

It feels like only yesterday that I was being introduced to the rest of the team as the new recruit. Yet, as I prepare to take the next steps in developing my career, I can’t help but be amazed at the amount I have learnt and achieved during my time here.

A wealth of opportunity

When I applied for the internship back in December, I was looking for a job that would give me the skills and experience I needed to change my career path. I had been working as a political reporter for just over two and a half years, and while I enjoyed writing about current affairs, I found myself with a growing desire to have a more direct role in shaping public debate and policy.

Equally important was the opportunity to fulfil a long-held ambition to do more to improve the services and support available to people struggling with their mental health. I was all too aware – both through my own experience and the experiences of friends and loved ones – of the extent to which mental health problems can impact a person’s ability to navigate day to day tasks, often with severe consequences for their health and financial situation. Thankfully, this awareness is gradually spreading. But progress toward finding solutions that would empower this group and protect them from harm is still far too slow.

The internship promised to help me achieve both of these goals, while also allowing me to get involved in the organisation’s research – an opportunity I knew I was unlikely to find elsewhere. Naturally I leapt at the chance, and have never looked back.

Personal highlights

In the four months I’ve been here, Money and Mental Health has launched, and won, a major national campaign, and published three reports, with another one on the way. This has made for a busy and exciting time, which makes picking out a few highlights a difficult task.

However, moments that deserve a particular mention include:

  • Celebrating our Recovery Space victory: I  was lucky enough to be involved in the Recovery Space campaign from the beginning – taking part in discussions about strategy, contacting politicians, and working with MPs on our advisory board to table amendments to the relevant Bill. Hearing the Government commit to extending the Breathing Space scheme to people in mental health crisis served as a perfect example of how an organisation like Money and Mental Health, with its focus on in-depth research and practical policy solutions, can bring about real change.
  • Meeting our experts by experience: People with lived experience of mental health problems are at the heart of everything that Money and Mental Health does. Not only do they take part in research, they also play an important role in helping the organisation communicate its messages to politicians, industry leaders and the wider public. The opportunity to work closely with members of the Research Community, including meeting case studies and facilitating focus groups, provided me with invaluable insight, as well as introducing me to some wonderful people.

Opening doors

I will obviously be very sad to leave Money and Mental Health and the amazing people that I got to know during my time here. However, thanks to the skills and experience I have gained during my internship, I am now looking forward to taking up a new policy and public affairs role at Rethink Mental Illness. 

I am also excited to see the advert for the next internship going out, knowing that someone else will get to enjoy the same opportunities I did to develop new skills and contribute to Money and Mental Health’s work to break the link between mental health problems and financial difficulty.

If this sounds like it could be the job for you, find out more about the role and how to apply here