UEL alumna honoured for successful career change in field of mental health
Dr Melinda Rees switched from being a NHS clinician to become managing director of Beacon UK
“To go from being a clinician to a managing director is a relatively unusual journey,” said Melinda. “I think many clinicians lack the confidence to take a different path, but I want to encourage them to consider additional choices.”
After being awarded her doctorate in 2000, Melinda took up two posts. One was in the NHS to set up and run a primary care service to look after the mental health needs of the homeless, asylum seekers and refugees. The other was as a specialist trauma therapist for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (now known as Freedom from Torture).
Over the next few years, Melinda was involved with rolling out the primary care service across Newham and leading adult mental health services in Camden and Islington.
“I’m still very much a clinician inside,” she said. “I still have that drive, but I now apply that motivation to a different set of clients. I think I’m more effective in that role because I’m working on a systems level. I might have seen 60 patients a year as a therapist. Our services are seeing 30,000 children a year.”
“If you become a clinician in the NHS it can be very hierarchal and it keeps you in your place,” she said. “But don’t let a clinical psychology programme train you out of who you are.
“You may well come out of your training and be a clinician, but don’t forget to look around you and see how else you can make a difference. Don't assume its somebody else's job to change the system."