Hillpark Secondary School (2003-2009); University of the West of Scotland (2010-2014); University of Glasgow (2014-2015, and 2016 – Present)
Standard Grades; Highers; B.A.(Hons); MSc; MRes
Several part-time jobs during University, including retail, writing, tutoring, and support work
Full-time Postgraduate Research Student
University of Glasgow
Favourite thing to do in my job: Talking with people about what upsets them, letting them tell their story, and helping them get better.
I’m a self-confessed geek living in Glasgow with my guinea-pig, scruffy dog, and a pile of horror books.
I’ve lived in Glasgow my whole life, and grew up on the Southside of the city. I currently live alongside my old, scruffy dog called Alfie, my baby guinea-pig called Rex, and A LOT of horror books and films. Even though they really scare me, horror books and films are one of my favourite things to read, and watch! I think I could play a part in any ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ episode. Apart from that, I like painting, some of which have even been in exhibitions here in Scotland. I also enjoy boxing, and judo (although I’m not the best), and seeing new places when I can. I particularly enjoy exploring the Isle of Skye, and have been around Romania in the past. There’s always something or other on here in Glasgow, so it’s never boring!
I study the beliefs that people with psychosis have about mental health, what they do to look after themselves, and what help they would like to see provided in the future.
I studied Psychology (B.A. Hons) at the University of the West of Scotland from 2010 to 2014. I then went to the University of Glasgow and gained a Masters (MSc) in Global Mental Health from 2014-2015 – focusing on what mental health means to different people around the world, and how they treat it. My research during this time included looking at how mental health volunteer’s dealt with stress, and what therapies helped abused children – so very wide ranging! During this time I also had a part-time job in retail, and volunteered in many places with people having problems with their mental health, including; Scottish Association for Mental Health, British Red Cross, St. Andrew’s Ambulance, and even abroad in Romania!
In 2016 I went back to Glasgow Uni for doctoral research, and am currently doing a ‘research year’ (MRes). This year I’ll be looking at how people with a serious mental health issue, such as Psychosis, Bipolar, or Schizophrenia look after themselves during a Benefits sanction. After that I am hoping to work with the local Roma community to understand the same thing, as well as ‘traditional’ medicine and using hospitals, and then work with them to make a treatment they would be happy to use.
I usually use ‘qualitative’ methods, which means I do a lot of interviews with people so I can hear their story. I then read over this information several times to understand their story. Although I have also used statistical models – looking at numerical data that measures peoples’ behaviour around seeking help.
My research to date has found that:
Mental health volunteers can get very stressed and worn out, and need proper support in place to help them deal with this.
Therapy that helps parents and children talk to one another after abuse can work, but only in the right setting.
Benefit sanctions can make people even more unwell, both in their body and mind, and they use a number of different things to help themselves feel better, like reading, and exercise. I am still in the middle of hearing people’s stories around this.
My next research project aims to:
Understand how Roma individuals look after themselves, and others with mental health problems, and their use of ‘traditional’ medicine and beliefs.
Design a treatment to help Roma individuals with serious mental health problems live happily in their communities.
This treatment will hopefully then be integrated into the psychological services already available.
My Typical Day
Lots of writing; reports, reviews, articles. Meeting, and talking to new people from all different walks of life.
A typical day for me just now involves; getting up early and heading to the University campus. Hopefully finding a table to set up my work (I don’t have my own desk space yet) – which can be difficult if the campus is very busy! My research just now is in phases – so, I’ve been doing a lot of writing over the past month, looking at what research as already been done. Soon, I’ll be interviewing people about how they take care of themselves during a sanction. I also write about mental health for several magazines, journals, and websites.
Some days I like to work from home in my ‘office’ – really it’s just my work spread over the bed and floor! But doing this saves on time (it can take me over an hour to get from home to the campus), and is usually more comfy!
If I’m lucky I can maybe find a desk closer to the main building, which is usually a nice view too Buildings like this on campus is why the University of Glasgow is sometimes called Hogwarts. If I’m working from home I tend to start a little later, and depending on how I feel, work well past midnight, but I try to stop for 10pm and get to bed!
What I'd do with the prize money
I would fund a physical and online mental health ‘pop-up shop’ to bring together everyone interested in mental health with those living with, and working in the area
I would like to put the money towards organising an event accessible to everyone, at all ages, that focuses around a mental health ‘pop-up shop’. This would include a variety of activities, some of which could include;
A variety of talks by researchers, carers, and people with lived experience on different aspects of mental health
Debates and quizzes
Question & answer sessions
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, driven, and passionate.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
When I helped someone get better, to stop being scared, and be happy again.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Reading the story of Hypatia of Alexandria, and also because I never seen any other disabled people higher up in Psychology.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Some, mainly due to Dyscalculia, but I was mostly quiet.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I think it would have to go to the Depeche Mode.
What's your favourite food?
Cheesy pasta (the one in the red box, healthy I know).
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Hiking through the countryside in Transylvania!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
More time to paint, to be less scared of flying, and to be less stressed!
Tell us a joke.
“Hmm.. Pavlov? That name rings a bell (!)…”