Today’s Role Models: Achievement Award winner to Mental Health Professional
As part of our 21st birthday this year, we will be getting back in touch with Jack Petchey Achievement Awards alumni, who won an award at least five years ago. We want to see what they have achieved since we last spoke (and believe us, it’s a lot!) to be role models to the young people of today.
This ‘Today’s Role Models’ feature is about Ben Joslin who received an Achievement Award back in 2001. He is now the Senior Care Coordinator at Community Links.
How old were you when you got your Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Award and what were you nominated for?
I was eleven years old when I won the Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Award in 2001. I was nominated for organising social events to raise money for charity with my best friend Camron.
How did winning the award make you feel?
I felt extremely proud to win the award. I didn’t think I would win and it felt very special.
Ben aged 11 at school
Tell us a bit about what you’re doing now.
I began voluntary work in mental health and social care as a teenager. I completed my social work degree at Northampton university in 2011. Following this I joined the Community Links, which is an excellent mental health charity that supports people throughout Yorkshire and Humber. I still work for Community Links but now as a Senior Care Coordinator for the rehab and recovery service in Leeds. I work with people who may have a variety of complex mental health needs and support them towards recovery. I love my job!
What made you get into mental health and social care?
I had a very interesting A level psychology teacher who had clearly worked in the field herself. I was not the brightest in my year at school but I loved this subject and got the A I needed for my degree.
Have you been involved in any other programmes for young people?
I have supported others in the Princes Trust Team Programme.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
I struggled with my English GCSE which nearly held me back. My parents encouraged me to take some extra classes after school (which I was embarrassed about!) to catch up. What I found when I got to the class was that many of the people in my year I thought were very bright were also attending for extra support. Never be afraid to ask for help.
What’s your biggest achievement?
There is a lot of mental health case work I am proud of, supporting others towards recovery. I feel very privileged to work in my field. I am also proud that I helped to write and teach training in working with and supporting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people in my company.
What’s the best advice you could give to a young person today?
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. You might not be rich but you will be happy.
What do you think the biggest challenge young people face today is?
That’s a complex question with no easy one answer. I know that I had a tough time being a young gay kid in a school that did little to support me. Even though I believe things have improved for young LGBTQ+ people in the last 15 years, I know we still have a long way to go. According to stonewall, one in eight LGBTQ+ people aged 18-24 said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year. I know that for me the saying ‘it gets better’ was true but if you are struggling you can access support and information from https://www.youngstonewall.org.uk/
Want to read another Today’s Role Models Q&A? Take a look here.