We wanted to celebrate Vanessa’s success and understand more about what she does.
MCM: What sparked the idea for your business Inside Out?
Vanessa: “It was definitely a combination of my personal, academic and professional experiences of mental health. During my late-teens a friend of mine self-harmed and attempted to commit suicide in front of me. Through the search of finding ways to support my friend, this led me to do more research into mental health. A few years later, I studied Psychology at university and started working in mental health. Through further research and more experience in the field, it was brought to my attention that there was very limited accessible programmes focused on prevention and early interventions of severe mental health issues. I believed then and still believe now that more can be put in place to help people. I’m passionate about helping young adults reduce their risk of mental ill-health.”
MCM: We met you last year August at our event #TheNetworker why was it so important for you to be a part of this at the time?
Vanessa: “I believe networking is fundamental. They say “your network is your net worth” and especially as a new organisation it was and still is important for me to go to events like #TheNetworker to meet other like-minded people. Through networking events I have met people who have come to my own events/workshops, recommended us for talks/panel discussions and those who have even joined my team so I definitely find networking beneficial.”
MCM: As we know Mental Health is not something that is talked about so openly especially within the Afro-Caribbean community what encouraged or pushed you to go in to this field of work?
Vanessa: “For that very reason. The fact that something so important is not spoken about is a problem! Mental health is the foundation which determines your life, from your productivity, to your relationships to your physical health- literally everything. Within the Afro-Caribbean culture majority have a misconception of mental health and I want to contribute to towards equipping people with the knowledge and skills to develop healthy minds as I believe this is necessary for us to succeed.”
MCM: You run amazing events and our team have been fortunate to attend, what is one thing you have enjoyed and one thing you have learnt from doing them?
Vanessa: “Thank you very much! I love organising events, those who are close to me would agree that I get so excited when I’m planning events. One thing I really enjoy is seeing and hearing the positive impact of these events. I take my time to read through all of our feedback forms after each event and hearing how people plan to implement what they have learnt in their lives is amazing. Often when I bump into people they start talking to me about events we held last year. The fact that people still remember is very rewarding.”
Having started off as a one man team, Vanessa expressed that she has learnt the importance of having an active team especially when working on large events.
Vanessa: “For our theatre Production last year, I wrote the script, directed, produced, designed the stage, sound and so on. It was one of the most overwhelming periods of my life but it brought out one of my best pieces of work so far. It was clear that I couldn’t continue to do everything myself, so now I have an amazing team to work with.”
MCM: May was #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek where you put on an amazing three events covering mental health through music, dance and yoga what led to this?
Vanessa: “I believe learning should be fun, and information is retained better when it’s being presented in a holistic setting which is why I decided a week of creative activities would be an effective way for people to increase their knowledge and also participate in stress management activities . Having seen the benefits that yoga, music and dance have had on me personally and also to those around me, it was clear that these mediums would be a good way to give our guests an in depth understanding of the theme for the week which was stress.”
MCM: You recently won an award for the under 30s community contribution award congratulations! What does this mean to you?
Vanessa: ” This award was received 14 months after the project launched which is a massive achievement for me, as I never expected to be recognised for my work very early on into the business so I am definitely proud of that. To think that I received an award for implementing an idea that began as a thought in my head. I’m really grateful to God. It reassures me that it’s important for the team and I to keep on pushing for more.”
In less than a year of starting your platform you have achieved so much! What’s next for you?
Where can we follow you?
Vanessa: “We’ve had a great year and it’s going to get even better! We have another project coming up this Autumn so follow us on socials to keep up to date.”
Facebook: Inside Out UK
LinkedIn: Inside Out UK