Answering the Call: Yvette’s Inspiring Journey to Addressing the Counsellor Shortage

Throughout the UK, millions of people are struggling with their mental health. According to Mind, 1 in 4 Brits will experience a mental health problem each year. At least 1.5 million people in England are waiting for treatment in regard to their mental health, but there aren’t nearly enough professionals to meet demand. In fact, the NHS lost 17% of its mental health staff in the year between 2021 and 2022. It’s clear to see that something has to change, but with numerous obstacles in the path of those wanting to become mental health professionals, the supply isn’t enough to keep up with demand.

The health service is crying out for dedicated, empathetic, and determined workers to join the movement. However, many potential counsellors are put off by the perceived academic barriers in place between them and a successful career as a counsellor or life coach. The concept of applying for a degree, leaving their current position, attending university as a mature student, and going through all the stress of coursework and exams, work placements, and license exams, before finally achieving their ideal position is understandably, too much. Non-traditional routes are giving potential mental health professionals the career-starting platform they need, without the overwhelming hurdles of conventional education.

Upset by the inability of her local medical centre to support those with mental health struggles in her community, veteran care worker of 15 years Yvette was inspired to enrol on our Counselling Diploma Level 3, a course that has allowed her to offer mental health services alongside her care. Yvette graciously sat down with us to share her story, from being inspired to make a difference to finally achieving her dream of supporting vulnerable people with their psychological struggles.

The Power of Personal Experience

“My friend’s husband was going through a bad patch, and was offered to either do counselling or take medication,” Yvette shares, “Initially, he wanted to go the route of counselling.” Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of available counsellors, the waiting list grew longer by the day. “So he took the medication, and it was detrimental to his health and his relationship.” Seeing her friends struggle without the support they needed ignited something in Yvette, compelling her to take action and bridge the gap in mental health support. “It spurred me to want to do something. There’s a shortage of counsellors in this country, and the need for mental health support is becoming so high. Now there needs to be something done about it.”

Forgotten Dreams and Unexpected Opportunities

Something inside Yvette had always pointed her in the direction of caring roles, but she’d actually considered going into psychology before. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she admits, “get into psychology and stuff. But life happens, and I never got around to doing it.” After spending 15 years in the care industry, a change in her schedule meant she was finally in a position to pursue this long-lost goal. “I’m a live-in carer, and I do two weeks on, two weeks off,” Yvette tells us. “It was easier to fit around my schedule to do it online.” Fuelled by determination, she embarked on a journey to unlock her potential and make a meaningful impact in the field of counselling.

Embracing Online Learning

Adapting to the challenges of a busy schedule and a nomadic lifestyle, Yvette discovered the convenience and flexibility of online learning. “Because I work away, I don’t really have a home-base,” says Yvette. “I can be anywhere all over Scotland, so I needed something that I could do online and pick up when I have time to. The Counselling Diploma Level 3 gave me the freedom to be able to do that.” With the ability to seamlessly integrate her studies into her day-to-day life, Yvette found that distance learning was more up her alley than she thought. The diploma provided a safe, nurturing environment, free from the usual stressors. “In a classroom you feel as though you’re in competition with other people there, and you didn’t get that pressure with the online course, it was much more comfortable for me to do it this way.” Yvette flourished over the course of her qualification, encouraged by the supportive guidance of her personal tutor. “Mark helped me out a lot,” she gushes, “he was really good.” With the wind in her sails she cruised through the rest of her diploma without incident.

Balancing Work and Study

Yvette managed to achieve her dream qualification without having to limit her income or leave her current role. Whether she was on the job or enjoying her time off, she dedicated herself to her studies. “I studied while I was away as well as when I was off work. If a client I was looking after wasn’t difficult and I had a lot of downtime, I got it done.” Yvette says. However, it wasn’t all work and no play for Yvette, who found she still had downtime for herself even in the midst of studying. “Sometimes I could go for a while where I didn’t look at it, there would be times where I would sit for a few hours, and others where I didn’t need to.” The beauty of online learning allowed her the flexibility to take breaks when needed, returning to her studies with renewed focus. “I’ve always struggled to put things down on paper,” admits Yvette, “I can talk about it, but putting it down into words, I’ve always struggled.” Luckily, with Mark’s support, she soon learned to be confident in her own abilities. “Mark made me feel as though it was alright. he said, “Say what you think, it doesn’t have to be great big words.” Shares Yvette.  “It wasn’t like an English essay, but I was writing it the way I spoke, and of course, that was good enough.”

Qualified

Now that she’s finished her qualification, Yvette is running head-first into volunteering to combat the counselling crisis. “I don’t deal with my friend’s husband anymore, sadly his relationship broke down because of the circumstances.” Yvette says, “But I’m using what I learned on the diploma a lot, and I’ve signed up to volunteer with the Samaritans starting in October. I’m hoping to go on to do my level five once I’ve got some experience.” We asked Yvette whether she’d recommend studying this course to others looking to ease the mental health crisis currently facing the country, and she said: “Of course, I would recommend it to everybody out there, because we need them. This country needs counsellors, so I would recommend everybody does it. I’ve learned so much about myself, it’s been a journey doing it, learning everything.”

Finding Your Inspiration

Have you been dampening your inner spark, unable to commit to going to university? Maybe you’ve always had a knack for listening? Whatever it is, it’s worth turning your dreams into reality, and with the right support behind you, it’s more than possible. Take a page out of Yvette’s book and have a look through the options available to you in our course catalogue. If you’d like to find out more about our Counselling Diploma Level 3 and how you can become a self-employed counsellor like Yvette, click here.

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