Mental health

My communication skills could come in handy for organisations that work with mental health and rehahabilitation.

Over the last ten years, I have come to understand how important mental health is and how the working environment can cause a lot of strain on individuals. I started my job with a European renewable energy association in Brussels just a couple of months before the financial crash of 2009. My then employer went into liquidation a few years later after almost two years of uncertainty and before that there were organisational changes that caused stress on employees.

During my time in Brussels, I started a three-year training course to become an art-therapist, though I ended up moving to Norway after the first year and did not complete the course. I continue to be very interested in art and its ability to act as a therapeutic medium. I have yet to identify art therapy as a practice at work in Bergen. I strongly believe in the therapeutic quality of horses and wanted to get more involved in such work in Bergen, given my existing network in this area.

I signed up as a volunteer at the Red Cross in Bergen (Bergen Røde Kors) three years ago, as I wanted to make a positive contribution to my local community. I was keen to learn about how to support people in a vulnerable situation. I also wanted to be more deeply rooted in Bergen and connect with the people and language.

I found two activities within the Red Cross which fit my particular interests and skill set. I volunteer every week within the “Døråpner” programme, where I lead the climbing activity, and I also volunteer in their prison rehabilitation programme “Nettverk etter soning”.  I became an indoor climbing instructor in November 2019 (find me here under “Klatreleder inne”).

In 2021, I volunteered with CRUX Kalfarhuset and supported them in their horse therapy activities for women in Bergen prison. As a keen photographer, I was in charge of taking pictures (portraits and anonymised pictures), as well as helping with the horses and reassuring participants.

I follow mental health organisations in the UK such as Mind and Mental Health Foundation. I have been to several exhibitions in London by Koestler Arts, the UK’s leading prison arts charity. I have also volunteered for Koestler Arts by submitting anonymous feedback to entrants in the Koestler Awards.

I find myself to be most suited to rehabilitation and integration work due to my life experience and personality traits. I focus on interactions with nature, animals, the arts, being physically active (riding, climbing) and active listening.

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“Jeg kjenner Eleanor som frivillig i Bergen Røde Kors, og der gjør hun en flott innsats i Nettverk etter soning. Hun er positiv og engasjert i frivillighetsarbeidet. Hun er også en pådriver og har utmerket seg som en initiativrik og lojal frivillig. Hun er lett å komme overens med og er en stor ressurs for Røde Kors.”

Hilde Lisbeth Amundsen, Bergen Red Cross

“Eleanor har den unike evnen av å være ytterst seriøs i alt det frivillige arbeidet hun driver; samtidig som hun er den som legger mest vekt på at vi skal ha det sosialt og kjekt sammen.”

Jan Bjørgo, Bergen Red Cross

“Eleanor gjør en god jobb som frivillig og har stilt opp regelmessig siden hun startet. Hun har vært svært aktiv i klatregruppen der hun ble har vært gruppeleder siden april 2019. Hun har også bidratt i rekrutteringsarbeid og i andre aktiviteter i Døråpner.”

Monica Thune Kaakull, Redd Barna