To mark Men’s Health Awareness Month, throughout November we will be sharing a number of stories from colleagues whose own experiences of mental health have inspired them to help others.
Our first story comes from Shaun Everitt, Project Coordinator at Community Roots. Shaun began working at Community Roots in 2020, after spending many years working in a bank.
“My experiences of poor mental health have mostly been through other people and watching their struggles. Growing up I had family members who suffered with anxiety, depression and agoraphobia and saw first-hand the devastating and debilitating effect this had on their quality of life. In a way this drove me to concentrate on my own mental health and although I have experienced periods of low mood and anxiety, I’ve always been determined to make sure I’ve been equipped with my own coping mechanisms from an early age.”
These early interactions inspired Shaun to study a psychology degree at university and he graduated in 2004. After graduating Shaun took some time away from working within the mental health sector and began working in a bank. Shaun’s role involved being customer facing but it very much was a job for Shaun and not a passion or career choice.
“I found myself working in a bank after university but I knew eventually I wanted to work back within mental health as this is where my passion really lays. My wife has always worked in mental health services and naturally at the end of the working day we would sit down and discuss our days. I would listen to her inspiring stories of helping others and making a difference and I realised I wasn’t getting the same feelings from my work and I wanted that to change.”
Shaun began his work with Community Roots in 2020, firstly as a temporary worker, before taking up a permanent role and now progressing to project coordinator. The team has grown considerably in the last three years and Shaun’s enthusiasm for helping others has been pivotal to that success.
Shaun’s current role involves working with volunteers and partners to develop the courses on offer, looking at the curriculum and gathering feedback to grow the number and types of courses available.
“Coproduction is at the core of what we do at Community Roots so it is a real privilege that I get to work so closely with our service users, volunteers and the wider community. I’m really proud of the work we do at Community Roots and I get such a sense of satisfaction from knowing I’ve helped others. I want to help people build up their resilience, embrace coping strategies and develop their own tools boxes to live healthy and well.
My early experiences of mental health and seeing the impact it can have on people inspires me every day to want to help others with their own journeys and improve their quality of life. I’m excited for the future of Community Roots and seeing the changes we can make for the people of Lancashire and South Cumbria.”