Jason Christopher McLean

My name is Jason and my hobbies include following Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), writing bonza verses and listening to awesome music to chill out.

I was inspired to become a volunteer because I wanted to help the system become as efficient as possible which is imperative to improving patient wellbeing. “All for one and one for all”.

If I can somehow find meaning in life then the feelings of pointlessness disappear. Volunteering gives me focus whilst I also work on my own psychological well-being. The involvement as a volunteer doesn’t go unrewarded. Intrinsic value in life can come from the smallest piece of input towards a higher purpose.

As part of my volunteering, I was involved in “Removing stigma of mental health illnesses” at my old University (Essex) Campus. We worked as a team to address the issue of negative association to problems of the mind, especially amongst students at the University and off campus.

I also presented a ten-minute speech at the Marconi Conference Centre, Chelmsford, in front of an audience of over 50 people including nurses, student doctors, EPUT staff and various health professionals. This gave me a chance to answer deep questions about my time as an inpatient and outpatient of the NHS.

At a World Mental Health Day event my creative talent was given a platform to share poetry about a variety of subjects to an international audience. Fond memories were developed from reciting verse and being in the “limelight”, to serving a higher purpose. Often poets find it hard to share their innermost private material (of work); this event seemed to bring out the best in me as an EPUT volunteer.

As well as all the creative outlets EPUT has provided me with, I have had the more serious role of being a regular contributor to meetings and conferences. Although I have not entirely been consistent with attendance due to Bipolar Disorder, at least I can say that the last few years have been a life line to a future of giving ideas to the wider community.

The patient experience work I have been doing behind the scenes and in meetings can safely be seen as a voice being heard. I have contributed to the development of the 111 mental health phone line which provides mental health support for people in crisis 24 hours a day. I also contributed to the improvement of the Home First visiting system and Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) visitations. These projects helped improve my mental health at an essential point of need.