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Kaleigh’s Story

Kayleigh Potter - Support Worker, West Lothian Mental Health Service

When I was younger, I was interested in a career in law because I was passionate about our justice system and had a keen interest to learn more. At the age of 16 I started a course in public services and soon realised it was not what I had initially thought, so I left the course and had to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my life.

At seventeen I experienced trauma through the loss of a father figure in my life. That was the time that I recognised I wanted to help others. I experienced the loss and impact it had on my life and stages of moving on from losing a loved one. I then applied for care work in the community and provided a range of support to a diverse number of different people. I discovered a passion for supporting people with a range of mental health diagnoses and that intrigued me to learn more. I decided to then focus on autism and how it impacts on people’s lives and what level of support can be given to support them maintain routines in their lives and to have new experiences. I transferred my skills and started to work for Autism Initiative.

I loved my job and I learned new skills such as sign language. A person I supported had taught me. I developed strong professional relationships with the people, and I became an important part of their daily living routine through providing the right level of person-centered support and understanding the importance of their daily routines. I developed a newfound level of respect for how the people we supported maintained their lives and managed daily challenges.

As my experience developed, my interest to learn more about mental health grew. I evaluated my career and decided I wanted more experience of other complex mental health needs. I decided to look at online websites and came across an advert for this organisation. Once I read the advert I went onto the website and had a good feeling about the company and how it was an opportunity to expand my experience and knowledge. The hours also were attractive and offered me a more flexible life and work balance.  I applied and then was offered a position at the West Lothian service to support people with Mental Health and ABI.

I started in April 2018 as a support worker.  As a support worker you have a responsibility to support people make informed choices about their lives and support them to live as independently as they can. I have my own and shared caseloads with positive successes along the way.  I became a Senior Support Worker in April 2020 and really enjoy what I do.