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Hey Everyone,

As I sit down to write this, we are slowly coming out of our third lockdown. Life is gradually returning, and London is suddenly beaming with people, sun and hope again! It is a strange feeling. I reflect on this last year observing that much has changed for us as a society, and for me personally and professionally. I feel split. Devastated at the impact of Covid. Grateful for the time it’s given me to reflect and change. Excited for the impending summer. Nervous for the change and intensity of life coming our way. 

It is no understatement to say that the first two lockdowns were some of the toughest months of my life. The isolation, time, space, fear, existential crises, lack of routine, tunnel vision that all ensued during those months led me to a place of deep enquiry. On some days they were difficult and lonely, as I was forced to reflect on my life choices and direction, something I had been avoiding and burying with the distractions of work, play and commuting that our previous lives protected us with. Time alone is good but being along with just your thoughts for months can be challenging.

After months of reflection during lockdown I began to understand what is important to me, where I find joy and meaning and how I want to contribute.

I have struggled with my own mental health and seen people close to me struggle too. Whether it be the PTSD I experienced after being attacked in London a few years back, intrusive thoughts that have come and gone throughout my adult life, fear and anxiety around my future and ‘success’, my uncle dying by suicide, or family members struggling with depression – mental health difficulties have been strife in my life experience so far. What I’ve come to learn though is that I am not the exception – I am one of many (if not all) of us who have directly interacted with an array of mental health experiences in many forms.

Those months of reflection triggered a burning desire to use my experiences to contribute to shifting the consciousness on a difficulty we all face but still widely misunderstand. As a society, we have a responsibility to come together and transform the way we view ‘mental health’. There is so much we can do to better support, understand and approach these experiences. Opening up the conversation is the start, transforming our consciousness is next. So after lots of reflection, I took the leap away from the corporate world to try something different.

This is where Sanctus come in.

I always had in the back of my mind that I’d love to work at Sanctus one day as they have such a unique and forward-thinking approach, one that no doubt influenced me.

I first stumbled on Sanctus on campus at University in Exeter back in 2017. A fellow student was wearing their merch and I was curious as to what Sanctus were all about. At that time, I had an outdated and inherited perception of mental health. I saw it as a weakness. I viewed mental health as something to hide, to fear, to push away. As I followed Sanctus and began to immerse into their socials and podcasts, I was struck by this new approach to mental health. The idea that mental health is a strength, not a problem. The idea that mental health is a spectrum, something we all have. The idea that mental health is equivalent to physical health. The idea that a ‘mental health gym’ is possible. The idea that mental health can be proactively managed, not reactively. The idea that mental health can and must be normalised.

Sanctus currently provide 1 to 1 mental health coaching to employees in the workplace. They believe that by getting to the heart of workplace wellbeing, we can begin to transform society as we see a shift in attitudes to work, life and personal development. A holistic approach which see’s our professional, personal, social, romantic, family and financial life as equitable parts of a holistic picture of wellbeing.

I have followed Sanctus for the four years since discovering them. Their influence, coupled with a combination of therapy, coaching and lots of education such as Mental Health First Aid training and reading around mental health, enabled me to transform my outdated position with a newfound desire to help transform others’ perception too.

Joining as a Partner Manager at Sanctus I’ll have the opportunity to work alongside our partners to embed Sanctus coaching into their workplace and create a mental health culture. I have already been so overwhelmed seeing the passion and desire many of our partners have to support their employees and can’t wait to see how Sanctus can continue to help companies and their employees to become more comfortable talking about mental health in the future.

As we look forward, I feel a sense of hope that coming out of lockdown could be the platform for us to change old habits we have as a society. I know lockdown and Covid gave me the space to reflect and make the move from the corporate world to Sanctus. I hope all the small changes we’ve made individually over these months – as we’ve each begun to better understand ourselves – will be prominent in how we ‘recover’ from the Covid impact as a collective; stronger and more connected than before.

Thank you for taking some time to hear my story so far and I can’t wait to see what the next months have in store for us.

Josh