Before I started my work placement at MyMind, I didn’t really know much about the organisation. I knew that it integrated technology with mental health and that was roughly the bare bones of it.
I was quite keen to begin to learn the “behind the scenes” process of counselling and psychotherapy as I was never provided that opportunity before, let alone come into contact with someone who is part of the profession that I aspire to be in.
I soon came to discover that it was much more than just your average counselling service.
MyMind was created specifically to help people from any background especially those who are disenfranchised or disadvantaged, mainly by integrating a price range that is flexible dependent on your occupational capacity. MyMind also introduces bilingual counselling and psychotherapy services to those who need to speak in their own languages.
Being a student myself it is quite refreshing to know that there is a benefit rate for students or the unemployed, attempting to make mental health affordable for everyone. This is another reason why I was so fascinated with this organisation. It also allows you to benefit more from working in an environment where the main goal and aim is to help people.
To this day, even after all my time here, I am still stunned by the ingenuity of these combined ideas, taking in so many different aspects of one person’s life ; money, culture, technology and mental health. To use such a broad scope and fine detail it towards psychological services in order to empower people and help the wider community and society is a plan that I find so admirable.
Krystian Fikert set up the first social enterprise in Ireland. Despite his busy agenda of being the CEO of MyMind which has four centres along with coordinating funding, networking with the HSE and various other organisations.
While also orchestrating with the office staff and working alongside the therapists, hearing their concerns and interviewing new prospective mental health professionals but also being able to give me half an hour each week for our weekly discussion was something that had a profound effect on me.
That kind of capacity to be so dedicated is extremely inspiring especially for me. I realised it had such an effect on me because it showed how involved and devoted he was to the organisation and those within it.
He had no problem giving anyone in the organisation ample amounts of time with his hectic schedule and he was available at any time to answer my emails or queries. By discovering some of Krystian’s tendencies that he carried out weekly it also gave me much insight if I were to ever think about setting up my own organisation.
Of course this is not a one man show, as I soon came to realise. Krystian has a hand selected office team who perform all of the unseen operations to keep the organisation running. I have had the pleasure to work with all of these individuals and was amazed by their dedication and professionalism.
Each member coordinates with their respective team by using their specialization to make the organisation run effectively, improve performance and enhance growth. I spent the most time with the Limerick Office Manager, Michelle O`Connor, who was my “mentor” for my work placement. Much of what I have learnt is thanks to her, she has provided me with ample opportunities of developing my skills and gave me a crash coursing in networking 101.
Six months is quite a long period of time for a number of things can happen. The biggest change for me that occured during this time period, was a change of perspective.
When I first started the CEO told me, “This experience will be as good as you make it.” From that moment on, I tried my very hardest to work to the best of my ability, if the organisation is willing to support me along the way and provide me with any training and assist me with any issues I have then it is my responsibility to reciprocate that kindness with my work ethic. This in turn changed my perspective on what I perceived as one of my main goals in life. Is it to make large sums of money or to help as many people as possible?
MyMind was able to provide me with opportunities for growth but how much growth depended on my own outlook and commitment. Writing blogs, conducting research, analysing statistics, interacting with therapists and clients, working the live agent, setting up and attending events were some of my usual duties, these roles completely aligned with my future profession and were able to highlight to me
It is strange now to come to the realisation that my work placement period here is over and I will be returning to university soon. It is one of those habitual feelings of repeatedly entering MyMind for six months that the idea of leaving seems so strange.
I have been wholeheartedly welcomed into this organisation and leaving will undoubtedly be a sad moment for me. However, I knew that this was going to happen no matter how much my habits have attempted to trick me and it is about remembering everything that I have experienced from this amazing opportunity and to keep moving forward.
By Eamon Aswad