Meet Jo

This month we caught up with Jo in our MAST team to find out a bit more about what she does. Jo has a challenging role in ensuring that, when people really need it, there is someone available from MAST to listen. But despite this challenge she is always calm and approachable.

What’s your role here at the Cellar Trust?
I am the MAST Team Lead, managing a team of 8 Peer support workers.

What do you do?
I manage our MAST peer support and support workers which is made up of Cellar Trust and Project 6 team members. The MAST team offer support in Airedale and BRI hospitals and then continued support within the community when people leave hospital. My role involves the day to day running of the team ensuring that we have cover within the hospitals and helping to supports clients in the community. I support my staff with signposting and any concerns that may arise. It’s a very busy role. 

What brought you to The Cellar Trust and what skills do you need to do your job?
I started working at the Cellar Trust just under 9 years ago managing the retail skills shop. I really liked that I would still be working in a retail environment which had been my background since leaving university but I would also be able to put my psychology degree to practice working within a mental health charity. I had a great 5 years in the shop helping to develop clients’ skills in retail with an end goal of finding employment, it was a great environment to work in with other members from the Cellar Trust team often helping in the shop when we were busy giving me time to develop and build relationships. The amazing charity shop bargains were also a plus!! 

I began realising that I would like to develop within the charity and started to look at future roles in the organisation and what I would like to do. I became the manager of the Telehealth team not long after and managed a team of 6 peer support workers deliver guided CBT to clients working in partnership with My Wellbeing College. I developed my knowledge and skills which enabled me to apply for the position of MAST team lead earlier on this year. 

What do you love most about The Cellar Trust?
Working with amazing people – I feel that everyone shares the same values and work ethic and it is great to be around such a great team of people who are doing amazing work. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
The variety! Everyday is different, meeting and working with partnership organisations, working alongside my great team. 

When you’re not working what do you like to do?
When not working I enjoy spending some of my free time helping to raise money for animal charities which are close to my heart- working towards change for all animals to be treated fairly. 


Lived Experience: talk to someone

What were you experiencing when you first came to the Cellar Trust?

I was in the midst of the worst breakdown of my mental health I had ever experienced in my whole life. I was in a deep crisis and needed urgent help. As soon as I entered Cellar Trust doors with my Dad, that first time, I knew they were going to help me because they were all so lovely and welcoming. It had a homely feel and atmosphere, the type of place you wanna be when you’re in that scenario. They made you feel at home as soon as you came in, the people everywhere I mean, even in the cafe. They would go out of their way for you and that stood out for me from day one, that’s what sticks with me about cellar trust.


What impact was that having on your life? 

I was deteriorating in my health fairly quickly, both physically and mentally. Looking back it was a really scary part of my life that I had to go through, the consequences were huge, so the help I needed had to be right. I was trapped in my Anxiety and OCD to depths that were unimaginable and in that cycle on a daily basis, it had overtaken my complete life in extremely detrimental ways. It was a very deep and dark place that felt never ending and I wanted to end it all.


How did the Cellar Trust help? Who did you work with?

When I first came in, I saw Will and then John, those guys man they were fantastic the way they make people feel so re-assured and at ease. They explained everything to me in depth and helped me on my journey towards recovery by getting me back into work. Also the team at Haven, I think I saw a few people from the first response crisis team a few times too, can’t remember all of them but they were all so empathetic and understanding towards me. I remember Lisa and Ken, who were great at listening to me. What cellar trust did well the most for me, was they really did play a vital part within my steps towards recovery throughout those first few months after being discharged. I needed that helping hand the most to keep me on the right road at that point in my life and cellar trust was there for me. You just never forget the people who have helped you when you were at rock bottom like that. I will never forget that!


How has your life changed? What are you looking forward to in the future?

My life has changed in many extraordinary ways. Things have happened that I could never imagine in my wildest dreams! Now I’ve got my health back and my mental health is becoming stronger and stronger every day. After being discharged my entire life changed. I’ve my own house, live independently, I work, I’ve been in the local media with my story, I’ve been mentored and getting therapy again. I’ve also just re-launched my music career again after five whole years so that’s really special too to be back doing what I love the most! I’m becoming a well known DJ in my local area and I want it to lead to national exposure and in the future become a successful music artist, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do and right now that dream is more alive than ever! Music has always helped me through my battles and continues to do so till this very day and I’m loving the journey towards success that I’m on with it, because now I’m in the right headspace to reach my goals- thanks to people like cellar trust helping me along the way! I also hope my story will inspire others to pull themselves out from it all. I’m looking forward to the re-launch of my music career and promoting my new single “Mind Body & Soul’ as much as possible.


What would you say to someone who is struggling right now with their mental health?

Talk to someone. There are lots of helplines and support available nowadays, sometimes people just aren’t aware or just too distracted or busy to look into it. But it’s there and readily available. You could ring samaritans, guide-line or first response. If you need a chat in person they will even invite you in for a face to face at the sanctuary or haven. They will listen to you and even guide you in the right direction. That first step isn’t easy but if I can do it, then you can do it too. If things are getting out of control and affecting your everyday life, then you should take a family member or friend with you to the doctors and tell them what’s going on. They will give you an assessment and refer you to your local mental health services. Don’t ever give up, because I never thought I would make it out but I did and that’s testament to anyone else who suffers mental illness, that you will get through, if you get help just work at it like I did and along the way keep believing in yourself and stay strong.

Lived Experience: Getting back into Employment

I initially self referred to the step program at The Cellar Trust in 2019. I had been out of work for 10 years, I had hit rock bottom, thought things would never improve and that life was no longer worth living. I was out of work due to ill health, leading to severe depression, generalised anxiety and a lack of self worth. I had become so fearful of work that it seemed like an impossibility.

Upon referring to The Cellar Trust I was given support with my general mental health difficulties as well as help building my self-esteem, support with coping strategies, developing and learning new skills and emotional support with any problems that arose. The staff at The Cellar Trust were always on hand and willing to help no matter the issue. They went above and beyond to help me achieve my goals. With the support of Will Vaughan, Jodie Denning and Greg Roberts I managed to gain employment. Without them this would never have happened. Referring to the service completely changed my life and I will be forever grateful for what they have done for me.

After gaining employment The Cellar Trust continued to support me and helped with any difficulties that I needed addressing.

I had a relapse with my mental health in 2020 and re-referred to The Cellar Trust, they once again showed amazing support and were completely non-judgemental about actions that I was very ashamed of. They have helped me to gain employment again through a work placement that they arranged for me and their support is currently ongoing.

I cannot thank them enough and would encourage anybody struggling to refer to the service for support.