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Coffee Break with Hanna Baillie, deputy manager, mental health resource centres, Belfast

30th January 2023

What do you do and why do you do it?

I am a deputy manager in the Mental Health Day Services team.  When I left school I didn’t have much direction and went between various admin and retail jobs. At 20 I got my first job in a health and social care setting and hey presto, I’d found a match. I think seeing that my small everyday actions had the power to make a positive difference in someone’s life is what really determined this path for me.

How do service users benefit from what you do?

The service users who are referred to Mental Health Day Services are often experiencing a deterioration in their mental health. Which can lead to increased feelings of anxiety, isolation and reduced levels of independence. By providing a variety of bespoke programmes, we help service users regain their confidence and ability to manage their symptoms. We work in partnership with our service users to help them develop the skills specific to them and their recovery needs.

Tell us about a typical day at work?

I start by checking my e-mails and diary then making a “To Do” list for that day.  Each morning we have a team meeting which allows us to check in with each other and plan the day ahead. Our service users arrive from 10.30 and our programmes start at 11. Throughout the day I’ll follow up referrals and facilitate inductions, liaise with community professionals, support staff to source new group programmes and help oversee the general operation of the centre. I like to take some time each day to link in directly with the service users and attend the service user meetings when scheduled. In the afternoon ill check back over my “To Do” list and keep squirreling away until home time.

If one of your service users was sitting with you right now what is the best piece of advice you could give them?

“Sleep on it”. At some point in all our lives we’ve been in a situation where we feel under pressure to respond or make a snap decision. In these moments I think we should stop and ask ourselves, does this actually require an immediate response? If not, then allow yourself some time to process what you’re facing and consider your options. A well-considered answer is worth waiting for.

Tell us about the satisfaction you get from your job?

My job satisfaction is mainly derived from the work itself, helping people develop their skills and recognise their strengths really is enjoyable work. I’m also lucky to work in a team with colleagues who recognise and celebrate each other’s achievements and with a manager who continually encourages our growth.

Tell us a little about your life outside of work?

When I’m not in work you’ll find me walking my three dogs at the beach or admiring the flora and fauna in my local forest park. Nothing revives you like fresh air and beautiful scenery! When I’m done with the outdoors I love curling up on the sofa to watch a good fantasy or sci-fi series – this is the way.