- Mental Health First Aid Instructor, approved by Mental health First Aid England
- Vineyard Manager and Gardener (Bardfield Vineyard/Great Lodge Estate, Essex)
- Project Leader for Keep Growing, a social & therapeutic horticulture project set up in partnership with Mind, West Essex
- Locum Eco-therapist at Forty Hall Community Vineyard, Enfield
I began my working career as a solicitor in a commercial law firm in London, after gaining a law degree from Cambridge University. My interest in mental health began in 2007 when my father was diagnosed with bi-polar. I myself then went on to develop anorexia nervosa and depression in my late twenties. I made the decision to leave my career as a lawyer and re-train in … something! A gut feeling led me to choosing horticulture.
During my recovery from anorexia I became involved in a community vineyard project, Forty Hall Community Vineyard in Enfield. I had always had an interest in vineyards (and wine!) since working whilst travelling in New Zealand. This was the space where I began to gain a sense of peace and hope to recover from anorexia. I began to experience in myself and others the therapeutic benefits of working outdoors amidst nature.
My current role is Vineyard Manager and Gardener on a large private estate in rural north Essex. With a passion for the benefits of working within the natural environment, I trained with Thrive, who provide training in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture. I then set up Keep Growing, a project at my workplace for people with mental health issues/illness.
I also now work as a locum eco-therapist back at Forty Hall Vineyard , which lies forever close to my heart.
Looking back I had virtually no awareness of mental health issues or illness. I felt shame and experienced stigma (from others and self imposed) around mental health illness. I now understand the importance of being able to recognise the signs and symptoms of a mental health issue developing, and having the confidence in how to approach it. My mission is to help others gain this awareness and confidence, resulting in earlier intervention for mental health issues and a greater chance of recovery for people. I want people to have the knowledge to reach out to others in their community , whether that be within the workplace or within home life. Mental health is everyone’s business and we all make a difference.
Outside of work, my favourite things are yoga, spending time outdoors with my two miniature dachsunds and riding motorbikes!