Jodie's placement year journey

We recently caught up with Jodie who joined our Psychology with Placement Year programme in 2017. She is now completing a placement year at The Lyme Trust and will return to Keele University in September 2020 to complete the final year of her degree.

Why did you choose your degree and university?

At the age of 18 I didn’t know what I wanted to be, so I decided to work in residential childcare as I enjoyed working with children and have always wanted to make a difference to those that have suffered unfortunate life experiences through no fault of their own. Whilst there, I dealt with mental health teams and clinical psychologists and I saw how they were able to provide support for vulnerable children and young people. I knew then that a career in psychology would be perfect for me. As for the university I chose, my high school always praised Keele University so I knew that was where I wanted to apply!

How did you end up with your placement provider?

The Lyme Trust is a charitable organisation that has connections with Keele University. After researching the company I identified that this line of work was something I had never done before: adults from 18 onwards who are homeless with drug and alcohol dependencies, with varying mental health disabilities. At the moment I currently work in a mental health hospital and care for adults who have been diagnosed under section 3 of the mental health act; as discussed previously I have cared for children and young people in residential care who also display mental health issues therefore this placement was the middle ground I needed as I had no prior experience with drugs and alcohol dependencies.

What kind of things have you been up to in your placement so far?

So far in my placement I have introduced myself to residents and they have told me some of their life stories which takes alot of bravery considering I am a complete stranger. I have sat in referrals where we interview the homeless who have been referred to us for a room, to see if they are eligible and if they require drug or alcohol support. Today, unfortunately I have supported staff with an eviction due to drug use which was very difficult to witness although completely necessary to keep other residents and staff safe. After speaking to staff, I have decided to begin my own activities group every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for an hour, in the hope to make supportive relationships with the residents, but also offer positive social activities. I am going to conduct research on this to understand what the residents need and what they would enjoy. I have taken part in training in regards to legal highs and the damage it is causing. Also this week I am taking part in outreach whereby I am approaching the homeless to offer support and discuss the options they have.

What have you learnt from your placement so far?

If my placement has taught me anything (this week), it would be that people's views, as well as my own, on the homeless community is very stereotypical, and that we judge others before we even know them! I've heard some of their stories this week and it has really opened my eyes that they need our support, not our cold stares and ignorance. After only sitting in on a few referral interviews I realised that some people experienced mental health issues, as well as relationship and family difficulties, loss of their home due to financial issues, have got a criminal background meaning they are in and out of prison, and some were even in care at a young age so had a tough upbringing and didnt have a strong family to support them. All of this stress then turned them to drugs and addiction. Instead of ignoring or staring, let's push them in the right direction to charities that can help them.

We will continue to follow Jodie’s placement year journey, so stay tuned for more!

The single honours Psychology with placement year programme enables students to work for a year in a psychology related setting, allowing them to apply their psychological knowledge and skills in a practical setting relevant to developing a professional psychology career, enabling them to really stand out in the graduate market.