Around this time last year, when I read about governor elections at BACP I felt compelled to apply for a number of reasons. I wanted to give something back to my profession and was in a position where I could dedicate a bit of time to do so. I wanted to address the disconnect I sometimes felt with my professional body and explore how greater member engagement could be facilitated. And I was excited at the possibility of contributing to discussions and strategic planning around the future of BACP and its membership, particularly in helping shape mental health policy.

Upon my election last November, I was very much looking forward to meeting you the members and listening to your feedback and concerns to take back to the organisation on your behalf. However, with the emergence of the global pandemic, not to mention the huge societal changes that are unfolding all around us, BACP’s focus and priority has had to be to support all of us during the challenges of these past few months and keep things running as smoothly as possible in this incredibly difficult time. Luckily this was something that BACP had been planning for ahead of the UK’s official lockdown.

I believe that the organisation has done an amazing job in this regard and continue to do so as we slowly begin to emerge back out into the world. The guidance and resources that have been provided, the CPD and training programmes that have been made accessible and the lobbying of parliament to support those of us working in mental health has been both impressive and inspiring. It has unfortunately also meant that other projects and ongoing work have had to be delayed but they are now gradually being picked up again.

Lockdown occurred only four months into my new role when I was still very much learning the ropes. I attended only one Board meeting in person, future meetings having taken place remotely. Working online has been both beneficial and problematic. On the plus side, it means that I have been able to meet other members of staff far more easily without the need to travel. But the big disadvantage for me, is that with all face to face events cancelled for now, I have been unable to connect with the membership in the way I had hoped and planned to do.

We cannot predict what the future holds but we do know there are huge challenges ahead for us, as individuals and for society as a whole. The need for sound and robust mental health provision has never been greater and it is vital that we, the members, feel heard, supported and rewarded for our work. I would therefore encourage anyone who is passionate about our profession to consider joining the Board at this unprecedented time. You can read more about the role in Governor elections 2020. And if you do decide to apply, good luck and I hope to meet you later this year.