Future mindfulness master
I’m Chloe Walsh from Newfoundland in Canada, and I came to Glasgow for a Masters in psychology.
My ambition is to improve mental health by reducing the stigma of asking for help.
As a student, the pressure to succeed – to achieve top grades and gain relevant workplace skills, while also making new friends and having experiences worth showing off on social media – can feel overwhelming. But sometimes, says Chloe, the best way to reach your potential is to do nothing and relax.
"If someone is off work, perhaps they’ve broken their leg, then there's no question that they're hurt. There's a doctor; there's an x-ray you can show. But if someone is depressed, then they can't show an x-ray. I want to make it as easy for someone to see a psychologist as it is for them to see a GP, by normalising that and spreading the message that mental health is important – just as important as physical health.
In the small town where I grew up, there are a lot of mental health issues. There was a three- or four-year period where mid-terms were cancelled because someone in the student body committed suicide. I think a big reason why I have been drawn to psychology is that there are so many things out there that can help people; they just need to be aware of them.
Seeing a psychologist – there can be a number of reasons why people find that hard. At home, I know there's a long wait list. A lot of people can't go because it's not covered by their health plan. Even if you can afford it, I think some people don't want to go because they can feel like it's weak to admit that they are feeling overwhelmed. Instead, they suffer in silence. They may not realise – oh there's actually a name for the reason I feel this way. It's not just me being silly and it's not all in my head.
My dad is a psychologist and my mum's a guidance counsellor, so I've grown up in this. I went to uni and I didn’t want to be a psychologist; it wasn’t even on my radar. But then I started learning about psychology and I realised: I love this. I literally can't deny it; I need to do this as a job. I worked with young people with autism for two years and that gave me a lot of insight. Even my own experiences at university, being stressed out and finding ways to deal with my own issues taught me a lot.
I started reading and learned about mindfulness-based therapy and yoga. It's just life changing once you learn about it. I’d like more people to be aware how useful it can be as way to cope. Mindfulness is about using your senses and being grounded in one moment. Taking a moment out can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I brought my yoga mat with me to university as a carry-on item on the plane and I go to a flow class at the gym.
In the future, I can't see myself doing anything else but this. It's just so much a part of my life now; I love it. I want to learn as much as I can about it and to make a difference to as many lives as I can."
Chloe is a University of Glasgow graduate and is part of our community of Future World Changers, who have ambitions to improve lives across the globe. Follow the stories of our current world-changing students as they work to build a better and more sustainable future by using #UofGFWC.