Our Mission Enabling and supporting people to live full and independent lives

An Interview with Jessica, one of our London Ambassadors

By Olga Snell

Published 18th July 2018

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We are happy to introduce Jessica as one of our London Ambassadors. You may recognise her in our News Section, from our Love Volunteering event and our De-stress 5k Walk with her pug Emo.

How does it feel being an Imagine Volunteer and now Ambassador?

I have been a volunteer with Imagine Independence since February 2018 and have found my time and experience as a volunteer with them to be very rewarding, I’ve learnt so much about myself and others.
I am an artist and art therapy student and have been holding art therapy sessions for Imagine’s clients, taking part in their Befriending service and representing Imagine as their Ambassador.
I very much enjoyed taking part in their Destress 5K walk, raising awareness for mental health and social inclusion. I have suffered from depression and mental health issues in the past myself and have found art therapy to be both beneficial and a very positive outlet for my own expression of feelings and emotions, it has helped me through many life challenges and problems.
I want to go on to do a Master’s in Art Therapy and to become an Art Therapist to help people who suffer from mental health problems, especially those in hospitals and institutions, as I feel there is a lack of services and support in this area and one that I feel very passionate about.

How are your Art Therapy classes going?

My art classes with Imagine are on Wednesdays and I find it very enjoyable, as the participants are engaging and talented.
I also volunteer at an old people’s home doing art with the residents, which I have enjoyed and learnt so much from, and volunteer as an art therapist assistant for Studio Upstairs Art gallery in Croydon, holding art therapy sessions for clients who suffer from mental health problems. I’ve learnt through my time working there with the clients, and through my own experiences how positive art therapy can be for expressions of emotional and mental health issues and trauma.
Art is a big part of my life and as an artist I have shown my work at the Bethlem Gallery and Elizbeth James Gallery.
I have also featured in magazines and have written a book called the ‘Nine Lives’, an autobiography about my own experiences of mental health issues.
I am passionate about helping others who suffer with their mental health through the expression of art and creativity; I feel it will help others who may find it difficult to express themselves through words or writing.

How are you finding the balance with all that you do and what is your go to routine for self-care?

In my free time I love spending my time in nature and I enjoy photography. I love taking my pug for walks and doing art with my nieces and nephews. Self-care is so important, and I balance my life through healthy eating, yoga, spending time with family and friends, studying, volunteering, doing art therapy and travelling. My hopes are to help others who suffer from mental health issues through art therapy, but to also find a good life balance to deal and face life challenges in a positive way. I want to use my own experiences and to show that even with mental health condition it doesn’t have to stop you or hold you back from enjoying life and reaching for your goals.

We would love to recruit more Ambassadors for Imagine Independence in Liverpool and London. If you’re interested, please email us at: imagine@imagineindependence.org.uk

Interview and article by Antonia Smith, our London Communications Intern.