Meet Alex Simmons
Posted on Aug 21 2020 by
We caught up with Alex to understand more about his role at Workbridge, and how he's helping to raise awareness of the talents of people with mental health needs at Workbridge. Workbridge is a charity celebrating their 40th year of supporting people with complex mental illnesses, ASD, brain injuries and learning disabilities to develop life and work skills through vocational pathways in Northampton.
Alex has been with St Andrew's and Workbridge for over a year now, a brand new role within digital marketing and communications.
"Although I didn't know much about Workbridge before my role, I knew they were doing a lot of good for people across the county. The link between mental health and learning a skill was attractive to me because of the way hobbies and vocations inspire us to focus, learn, be part of a team and believe in ourselves. All positively support our mental health and wellbeing."
After joining Workbridge, Alex realised how broad mental health is and how each person has a personal story to tell. Complex mental illness in particular can be difficult to discuss within a public sphere because of the stigma attached to it. But presenting the talents of people who do have a complex mental illness through what they have achieved, made, learnt helps people to understand more about how we are all different and valued.
"Workbridge is much larger than you would think, and before this, I hadn't met many people with complex mental health needs".
"The best thing I love about my job is speaking to and hearing service user's achievements and how it makes them feel coming to Workbridge. Everyone is different and has their own story to tell, and I feel very lucky in my job to be the one that helps people hear them and sharing their positive journeys through social media."
Under lockdown, spending time with service users was more limited.
"A lot of our service users can be isolated and rely on Workbridge to help and support them, provide routine and structure, and I really felt for them. We started phoning them weekly and making activity packs so they could feel a sense of togetherness from home."
So, what about his social media activity? One look at Workbridge's social media accounts and it's quite clear what Alex values.
"Spreading joy, positive messages, kindness, and the Workbridge values are one of the most important things in my job. Of course, cake pictures are nice! But behind that, there's a very important message of how Workbridge helps people believe in themselves, and support them back into the community."
"But there's a lot more for society to do to encourage people to speak up and talk about their mental health. We need to be kind to each other and ourselves, make it easy for people to have conversations and break down barriers and stigma in society attached to mental health."
Alex is determined to raise more awareness of the talents of service users in vocational pathway like Workbridge. To help him on his mission, please follow Workbridge’s social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.