inside out wellbeing
We are thrilled to announce an affiliation with the incredible not-for-profit social enterprise, Inside Out, who are committed to helping people improve their mental health and wellbeing. At Paws in Work, we are fully supportive of Inside Out’s mission and are extremely excited to be working together on various projects in the near future.
Here to tell us more about the amazing work they are doing to help young people reduce their risk of developing mental health disorders is Vanessa Boachie (BSc, PGCert), Founder and Director of Inside Out Wellbeing. She is an Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur with a background as a Psychological Therapist. Vanessa has been working in mental health for five years and is particularly interested in empowering others to manage and optimising their mental well-being.
by Olivia Kennaway, Paws in Work blogger.
how did you get your idea or concept for Inside Out?
It was definitely a combination of my personal, academic and professional experiences of mental health. During my late-teens, I experienced a close friend battling through mental health difficulties, he self-harmed and attempted to end his life in front of me. Through the search of finding ways to support my friend, this led me to do more research into mental health. I went on to study Psychology at university and started working in mental health. Through further research and my own experiences, it was clear that there was a gap between young adults experiencing common mental health challenges and mental health support. There is a lack of services that provide mental health education for young adults, let alone services that offer fun and accessible ways to improve and optimise mental well-being. I believe these are essential life skills that everyone should have access to.
how did you know when you had the right idea?
Before we had our first event, I don’t think there was a moment I actually thought “this is the right idea”, I just wanted to help improve mental health awareness within the community. It wasn’t until we received amazing feedback from our workshop and event attendees when I felt more confident that were doing the right thing. It’s important for us to work closely with our workshop and event attendees who we call our ‘Inside Out Family’, so we can ensure that we have the right events in place for them.
what was your mission at the outset?
My mission has always been to improve access to mental health education and support particularly within the Black and Minority Ethnic Groups.
Evidence suggests that African Caribbean people are three to five times more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia, more than any other group (Mental Health Foundation, (accessed 2019) however have lower rates of diagnosis for other common mental disorders (Mental Health Foundation, 2016). Rates of depression are reportedly much higher amongst Black and Minority Ethnic communities than for white communities (Memon, et al, 2016; Mental Health Foundation, 2016).
what are your responsibilities as founder and director?
My main responsibility is to bring our vision to life and of course there are many different aspects to this. I manage a core team of 6 and oversee the general running of the organisation. We are a small organisation so I am involved in most aspects of the company, from business strategy to planning events and discussing partnerships to marketing. It’s never a dull day.
My favourite part is designing and running the workshops with the team, it gives me the opportunity to combine my creative side with important topics about mental health.
who does Inside Out help the most?
Our free online workshops help our community. Our core beneficiaries are 18-30 years olds from Black and Minority Ethnic communities. Our workshops are culturally sensitive and take into account the impact culture can have on mental health.
Our corporate events and workshops support people in the workplace, being able to have uncomfortable conversations about mental health is key particularly as research suggested we spend a third of our lives at work.
how do you advertise Inside Out?
Our main form of advertising is through social media platforms such as twitter, Instagram, facebook and LinkedIn.
how did you build your team?
I currently have a young vibrant team who are all passionate about mental health awareness. Most people who are in the team initially attended an Inside Out event or workshop or heard me speak at an event and share similar ideas about improving mental health awareness. I have also used social media to share opportunities within Inside Out.
how do you plan on growing Inside Out?
We are currently working on our growth strategy especially during this time when looking after your mental health is crucial, we want to try and reach as many people as possible. This requires growing the team, increasing partnerships and collaborations and utilising social media.
how do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing?
I love self-care. I recognise due to the nature of work I do, I need to make sure that my cup is full before I can pour onto others. I never want to feel like I am pouring out of an empty cup which is why I prioritise looking after myself and prioritising my well-being. To do this I regularly have 1 day during the week which is usually Saturdays, where I don’t do any work- I don’t even open emails. I log out of my social media accounts so I can just spend some time with myself and breathe. I use this day of the week to rest, reflect and reset. Typically this would involve going for a long walk, doing some deep stretches, listening to music or podcasts and just disconnecting from the day to day business.
I also believe the first hour of my day is sacred, so I tend to spend that first hour with myself before doing anything else.
have you personally seen an increase of people needing help since the covid-19 pandemic began?
Most people have been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic in some way. At Inside Out, we have seen an increase in the demand for our services to provide mental health and well-being workshops and offer mental health support.
Researchers have warned that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to long-term emotional trauma. A study conducted in China during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 found that 53.8% of respondents rated the psychological impact of the outbreak as moderate or severe (Ho, Chee, Ho, 2020). Demonstrating that the majority of people have been psychologically affected by the pandemic, and we can expect to see a similar impact in the UK.
what are you most proud of since starting Inside Out?
I am very proud of our growth so far. Inside Out started off as an idea which turned into a mental health awareness project in 2017 and is now a social enterprise. We have worked and are currently working with amazing people and amazing organisations towards a common goal which is to support people with their mental health - which is needed now more than ever during this difficult time. For me it is definitely the feedback we have received over the years when our ‘Inside Out Family’ tells us about tools they have learned from workshops and events that have helped them in their lives or with supporting a friend or family – that means the world to me.
I believe that when you support 1 person, you have helped a family and when you have helped a family you have helped a community, and when you help a community that is your way of helping the world.