There are lots of things we know will be a challenge in our first year; a new working environment, meeting new people, the responsibility of being a clinician…the list goes on! Many of these things we can talk about and get support from others in similar positions or who have been through the same process – a problem shared is a problem halved! However, in addition to these general challenges which we can be very open about, many of us will be taking on our own private challenges which we might be more hesitant to share.


Personally, I love a challenge, and year one has been full of them! I’ve enjoyed sharing these challenges with my new colleagues and peers from uni; discussions as a team have always helped me work things through. The secret thing that I found most challenging about year one however was being worried about how my own mental health and wellbeing would be affected in my new role.


Having my own mental health conditions isn’t something I tend to disclose. I worry it will impact people’s opinion about how capable I am to do my job. But this defensiveness means it’s a challenge I face alone. Working in mental health I am the first person to say it is so important to be open and honest about what you’re experiencing in order to make sure you have access to any support you may need. But I’m not the best at taking my own advice!


Eventually, due to how lovely my new team were, I felt comfortable enough to talk about it. I was so impressed with how many resources I learned were available to support me! It also opened a door for me to be a part of a new ‘lived experience’ strategy put in place by my trust, finding out about the experience of staff members with lived experience of mental health conditions. I was so worried walking into the first meeting, but everyone was so welcoming and friendly.


At first this challenge felt like it had to be a secret to me, but in sharing it I found it was the secret challenge for many others too! Now rather than feeling alone with this challenge, I’m part of another team. I hope the resource created from this project can be like a team too, all working together to protect each other’s’ wellbeing.

Written by Bethany Morgan-Davis

This project is funded by the Elizabeth Casson Trust. If you’d like to learn more about the project you can do so via this link and the team behind it here

If you’re in your 1st year of practice as an occupational therapist become part of the year 1 community by joining in via:

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Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash