Psychology alumni who work in mental health

Studying Psychology at The University of Manchester can open the door to many different careers within the vast and varied world of psychology. Today, we’re focusing on a selection of our psychology graduates who have gone on to work in mental health-related careers. Read all about them and what their jobs consist of below…

Chloe Murphy

I graduated from Psychology at Manchester five years ago and have stayed in the north-west ever since, despite originally being from London.

I’m currently working as an Educational Mental Health Practitioner. I work with children and young people in school settings as part of a mental health support team. It’s a new role funded through the NHS in collaboration with Health Education England that ensures children can access psychological support services in the heart of education where they spend a lot of their time.

The role involves delivering low-intensity CBT, one to one sessions and group sessions. There is also a wider approach where we work with teachers and other school staff to develop a whole-school approach to tackling mental issues in schools.

My career journey since graduating had been a mixed bag before landing this role. Initially, I did a summer internship as a Research Assistant with a patient-centred health outcomes company, a role that I actually found through the University’s careers service. After that, I focused on clinical roles and volunteered as an Assistant Psychologist in an autism service where I got to see how autism assessments were made and then volunteered in a psycho-social service in a children’s paediatric department in a hospital.

Alongside those volunteering roles, I was working part-time as a support worker where I was helping children and adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Shannon Atkinson

I graduated from The University of Manchester four years ago and I’m currently working as a Team Leader as part of a Supported Living Scheme for adults who have just come out of psychiatric care.

The patients I work with might not have the skills to live on their own yet, so they come to us for two years where we look to provide them with the necessary skills to allow them to go and live on their own in the community. My specific role is to manage the support workers who deliver that support. I do a variety of things including risk assessment, planning support, and crisis management.

Throughout my degree, I thought that I wanted to go down the clinical psychology route so did a lot of volunteering in that field during university. One piece of volunteering that I did was as a Benefits Advisor for people with mental health issues. I also worked part-time as a support worker after university and that’s where I realised that I preferred helping people with day to day skills rather than the clinical side of things.

Steph Armstrong

I graduated in 2013 and initially found it really difficult to get a clinical role after graduating, and it took me two years to get started. The first thing I did after graduating was volunteer on a neuropsychiatric unit before getting a job as an Assistant Psychologist for one day a week. In this role, I was working with eating disorder patients where I was delivering low-intensity CBT.

Alongside that, I got a job as a Mental Health Care Support Worker in an inpatient unit. I initially wasn’t keen on the job, but I found it a really valuable experience. It was a really intense environment where you get to learn how to deal with challenging situations which is a great skill to have.

From there, I moved to London where I got a full-time job as an Assistant Psychologist for an eating disorder service where I was delivering group therapy sessions, individual CBT sessions, and conducting some research too which was actually published.

After that, I did a master’s in abnormal clinical psychology which took me to my current role which is an Assistant Psychologist in an early intervention service for young people with psychosis. It’s for people between the age of 14 and 35 who have just had their first episode of psychosis. The aim of the service is to try and manage relapse and reduce risk. I deliver low-intensity CBT and DBT, conduct psychiatric assessments and also evaluate the service to make sure that people are being referred to the right service are getting the right treatment for their needs.

I’m leaving that job in September and moving back to London as I’ve got a place on a Clinical Training Doctorate.

Clementine Fitch-Bunce

I graduated in 2018 and currently I work as a Domestic Violence Case Worker for a charity called Solace Women’s Aid. My role is to primarily help women to stay safe in their current relationships or to exit relationships in a safe way. I work really closely with the police, the criminal justice system, social services, housing, and social care/local authorities.

When I graduated, I worked as a Special Education Needs Teaching Assistant and from there, I went into an inpatient eating disorder unit where I worked as Mental Health Support Worker. Like Steph, I was apprehensive about doing it because it seemed daunting, but I learned an awful lot – you’re thrown in the deep end but that’s where you develop a lot of skills.

I got into my current role through volunteering with the Citizens Advice Witness Service at Manchester Magistrates Court while I was at university. so it’s really important to try and take advantage of different volunteering opportunities while at university because it can really work to your advantage further down the line.

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