Introducing Maya

So Maya, let’s dive right in. How did you get here?

How did I get here? Hmmm. Well I grew up in and around Stroud so I’ve been aware of The Door for a while. I was looking for some part time teaching assistant work when a friend of mine suggested that volunteering as a mentor would help with my CV and my skills.

Around the same time the PCN role was being advertised, I applied never thinking I’d even get an interview and the rest, as they say, is history.  You could even say someone opened a door for me. (pardon the pun!)

Hey, we love a door pun here! So tell us more about your role, what does PCN mean?

Ah sorry, jargon alert! PCN stands for Primary Care Networks – these are groups of GP surgeries that work together and share resources. The Door is commissioned by some of the local PCN’s to provide telephone support to young people that come into GP’s looking for help with their mental health.

So is that your typical working day then? Making those phone calls…

Exactly. I mostly work evenings for a few hours at a time. The aim is to reduce waiting times for young people and take the pressure off the crisis teams. I’m part of a team at The Door that receives referrals from GP’s of young people that need someone to talk to.

We provide them with an outlet, somewhere to get things off their chest. It’s a bit like a helpline but instead of them calling us we call them. And unlike a helpline it’s always the same mentor on the end of the phones. We call each week and listen without judgment.

That safe space is so important.

Yes, we give them guidance If they ask for it but, a lot of the time it’s so important to just be there for people. The calls gives them time to process what’s going on and to think. Afterall it’s not up to us to solve all their problems but help them realise that deep down they already have the solution.

What kind of issues are young people dealing with that you call?

We could be talking about eating disorders and body image, or anxiety, depression and self injury. It’s quite broad in nature and often complex.

That must be difficult sometimes

Yes it’s not so easy but it is rewarding. It’s so worth it when you know what you are doing is helping people. And the team at The Door are always around to help me when it’s a particularly complex situation.

You’ve said it’s rewarding to help people, what else do you enjoy about your role?

I think when young people feel they can close their chapter with us. It’s sometimes hard for us both to say goodbye but it means we can support someone new and help them take steps forwards.

And The Door is always here if they need us in future

It is indeed.

Are there any particular challenges in your role?

Not being able to see faces and body language can be a challenge sometimes but it’s amazing how much you can tell from a voice. And typing as fast as people talk. Especially when someone is on a roll, I end up scribbling away and then have to write out my notes properly once the call is over.

I know the feeling!


Looking ahead what might come next for this project?

It’s been designed to be rolled out to other PCN’s so hopefully it will continue to grow and be able to support even more young people in need. It’s becoming clearer all the time that this kind of support is crucial post pandemic. Young people are isolated, especially in rural areas where mental health support is less readily available.

Very true. I think that’s a perfect place to end the serious part of our interview.


Onto our final three questions. Firstly, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Ooh I have two already! Sushi or Burritos

So anything with rice then?

Pretty much, I think Burritos edge it though.

Excellent choice, next question – sport

Oh dear. No ok, I’m not sure I’m sporty but I’ve been to a few Forest Green games with my Dad and Brother. If there’s football on the TV I’ll be supporting Belgium because I’m half Belgian.

Oh and I do rock climbing!

I think rock climbing counts! Where’s the biggest rock you have climbed.

That would have been in Switzerland, where you had to clip yourself on as you went.

Well, you’re braver than me then.

Final question… do you have a saying or phrase to share?

“This too shall pass” – I think it reminds you that you won’t always feel this way, that the sad times pass and to make the happy times last.

Introducing Maya

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