I thought it would be easy to write about my journey pre, peri, and post, Designs in Mind; though it’s not really ‘post’ DiM, as I moved from being a referred member, via CMHT, to staff member. I’ve spoken about it so many times to anyone who’d listen, and you can find out a little more via previous stories for the studio.

It took me a while to admit I was a member, due to the stigma associated with mental health, especially to my side of the family as it’s still a huge taboo; akin to me rocking up to temple, keeping my shoes on with a double cheeseburger (Hindus aren’t a beef eating people).

Suicide and mental health are not talked about, even if there’s a history of it in the family, in my case, especially if it’s in the family. The truth is regardless of nature or nurture, anyone of us can, will, or have experienced poor mental health (it really does not discriminate – the one time discrimination would have benefited me).

Oddly I’m currently in the same place (physically) as I was prior to my referral via CMHT. Pretty much housebound, and reliant on the internet, family and friends, but this time due to being classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ during COVID, rather than clinically depressed.

During shielding, I was petrified that I’d regress and once again need (literal) hand holding back to the studio. Fortunately I’m itching to get out of the house, and back to the studio.

I truly believe taking the opportunities offered to me via the studio has helped me through our current shared crisis. The trust and purpose afforded to me, be it representing DiM at The House of Lords, Commons, working on commissions, or simply being trusted to use a scalpel to paper cut has helped me become a resilient version of my pre-diagnosed self.

None of this would be possible with the studio, staff and volunteers alone, if it weren’t for commissions, or our amazing customers, our #GoodEggs, by buying products members have made they not only support us financially but fundamentally, our productivity and creative adventure in the studio has purpose, we are not making for makings sake.

We made mental health visible, our JOLT shop shared our makers stories, talents, through beautiful, tangible products. Now we have mobile outlets, a way of connecting the studio to Shropshire. Showcasing what we do and how brilliantly we do it.