Teal speakerphone. Text: Podcast

Podcast: Claudia Turbet-Delof

24 January 2024

Thea Joshi is joined by Claudia Turbet-Delof, a local councillor in Hackney, Mental Health Champion, person centred therapist and human rights campaigner. Claudia shares her experience of growing up in poverty in Bolivia, moving to the UK and facing depression and racism. She tells us how these experiences, and witnessing the power of collective struggle by indigenous people in her country, have driven her ambition to make mental health a fundamental human right. Please note that this conversation does make reference to racist language and sexual abuse.

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Music by scottholmesmusic.com

Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. The full transcript is available below

Show notes


Alethea Joshi (AJ): Hello and welcome to Centre for Mental Health’s podcast. Centre for Mental Health challenges policies, systems and society so that everyone can have better mental health. I’m Thea Joshi and each episode I speak to people with experience of mental health difficulties, someone working in a specific area, or a member of our team about mental health and social justice. And today, our guest is Claudia Turbet-Delof. Claudia is a local councillor in Hackney where she’s a Mental Health Champion. She’s also a person centred therapist and a human rights campaigner. And it was really moving to hear about Claudia’s experience of growing up in poverty in Bolivia, moving to the UK and facing depression and racism. And just to note that the conversation does make reference to racist language and sexual abuse. Claudia was really honest in sharing all she has been through and how that’s driven her to campaign for mental health as a human right across her work. And this conversation was really the perfect way to kick off a new year working for social justice in mental health. So hope you enjoy. So Claudia, welcome to our first episode of 2024. It’s wonderful to have you here.

Claudia Turbet-Delof (CTD): Thank you so much. Thank you for the space. I’m super excited, starting 2024 with a lot of energy, and what an amazing way to connect with our communities. And thank you for the opportunity.

AJ: Amazing. I have heard lots about you. And so we’re really happy to have you here. And so am I right in saying you were born in Bolivia, and you migrated to London as a young adult. Is that right?

CTD: Yes, that’s right. So I migrated to the UK in 2003. It’s been 20 years. I migrated from Bolivia. There was actually a big mass migration period happening in Latin America and around 1.2 million Bolivians left the country in a space of seven years. And I was one of those people. So yeah, it was mass migration at a very difficult political time in Bolivia, and also in the region.

AJ: Wow. Okay. And I’d love to know a little bit more about how, and I know this is a massive question, but how would you say your experiences both growing up and your childhood in Bolivia and then also migrating to the UK, how have they shaped you as a person? Tell us a bit more about yourself.

CTD: My story is definitely the backbone and the foundation to everything I do now, and I’m sure of things that I will continue to do probably to the end of my days. For me, my background is very much related to extreme poverty, destitution, intergenerational racism, debt and that feeling that you could be homeless any moment. That really informs what I do now. 

You will notice right away that I’m quite political. I’m also an elected councillor for the London Borough of Hackney, which is what my home now. I think, since a young age, I was very highly aware of politics. Not in the sense of those type of politics that don’t do anything, but actually the politics that can cause change. Because in my story, Bolivia, a part of the Latin American region, had experienced and has experienced a lot of neoliberal type of politics, government, you know, the very classic sort of colonial style policies where they come and take your resources, there is a lot of extractivism, there is a lot of benefit and profit for big multinationals and corporations but actually very little left for the people of the country. A lot of abuses and, you know, a lot of lack of respect for workers rights, a lot of modern slavery, and so on, especially attacks on the working class, because they are sort of like the majority. 

The majority of Bolivia’s indigenous, so 70% of the country is indigenous. My upbringing has been seeing constant daily attacks on our communities because of that process in which the country had been developing resources, natural resources being taken to big multinationals, and then trying to keep the working class always really, really below in a hierarchical settler class system. So my upbringing is seeing, for example (and I know this will sound quite heavy for many, and I hope it’s not too triggering) but I have grown up in an environment where there will be a lot of racism against indigenous peoples to the point of you know, I’ve seen unfortunately, indigenous people being hit, beaten on the street, I’ve seen people being burned alive, unfortunately, because of race. 

So I have since a young age, felt the anger and the extent of the injustice system. Because my family, we are of Black Caribbean descent, and in Bolivia there are not many people from the Caribbean, not many Black people. So we kind of stood out, there were not many of us. I saw in my cousins how there was a lot of fun made out of the Afro hair. My grandma, [who] I didn’t meet because she passed away quite young unfortunately but she’s like a legend in our family, a very strong Black woman, they called her binbag. So that was the nickname that I grew up hearing all the time. And I was called a binbag, too. And when I left Bolivia, just as a quick example, I was working in a company that actually was sort of, I couldn’t go to university, but I feel that that was my university, in a way, in terms of my social, and my militance and my view on social justice. They used to call me monkey in that place. And I mean, I was 23 years old the last time I was called a monkey face to face. They would say ‘call your little monkey to come and take the minutes’. And the thing is though, this is the reality that happens across the world. I mean, these are just snippets, what I’m telling you, of my story and what forms my values and my stance, especially on social justice, and then we’ll come to mental health and why it’s so important for mental health. Because this is not exclusive, this is not unique. At this very moment there are people that are experiencing even worse things actually. At this moment there are many people being killed, for their race, for their natural resources, and so on. So this is why I feel so passionate. 

And in that period, just to make sense on the mental health side, I also had a very difficult upbringing at home. So there was a lot of abuses and negligence. And I know, if I had been in the UK, and if there had been a social service system, I would have been taken out of my home. I wasn’t because such a system didn’t exist. But it led me to feel depressed. And I actually felt depressed for a number of years. And I came out of it, because I received community support. And I think that’s the link for me [with] social injustice. I saw the daily social injustice that my family experienced, it stressed them out to the absolute limit. They would come and cut our water supply very often because we didn’t have money to pay the water supply, electricity supply, the basic bills that you have, the basic services that you have. 

And that was very acute for me and seeing how that injustice of family never being able to overcome that poverty or working so hard but always at the risk of destitution. It stressed them out and there was a lot of anger on top of their own unresolved traumas, and then that being taken out on the kids, in this case myself, you know, being beaten and being insulted and so on. Which is not an excuse, but I had to come to learn that that was what’s going on for them. But again, I don’t excuse that, I have my boundaries, that also was their choice to to behave the way they behaved with me. But I can see the cycle and importance of how social injustices affect our mental health. And in my case, you know, I felt depressed for many years, and community support, constant community support, helped me get out of it. So that’s why I feel so passionate about mental health being free for everyone, being available and coming in different forms, you know, community. So yeah, a long answer to your question.

AJ: No, I mean, thank you so much for everything you’ve shared there and for being so honest about your own experiences. I feel like I’ve already got a little bit of a sense of your story even though I’ve got a million other questions off the back of that. You’ve sort of touched on this a little bit, but I know you’re a counsellor, a therapist, what really drives your work and your passion behind that?

CTD: We will never have an answer as to why things happen to us. And I think that’s something that none of us can resolve. I have had so much happening to me, in terms of what can go wrong in care for a child, you know, I was mentioning negligence. Unfortunately, also, I’m myself a survivor of paedophilia. And you know, psychological abuse, with parents at home that have perhaps undiagnosed mental health needs themselves that they’re not receiving support [for]. I couldn’t go to university because we were so poor. I wasn’t allowed to go to university either when I got actually three scholarships offered because I was quite quite good at school, my grades were pretty brilliant, always the top of the class. Because of this gender situation, girls stay at home, that applied to me and I wasn’t allowed to go and study. I wanted to be a doctor, a neurologist. That was my dream. So I’m really pleased I’m still staying in health. I worked since the age of nine. So you know, am very conscious of paying a child labourer, which was the big issue in Bolivia, too. We had a big percentage of children being labourers, you know, working from the age of 5/6/7, because of the poverty that the country experienced. Now, why I’m making reference to this is because I think for me, I am absolutely, absolutely, fundamentally sure and certain and believe that every human being absolutely matters. Every human being is valid, every experience is valid and all of us are wonderful people, I do believe that from the bottom of my heart. 

But I do believe too, that the experiences that we have, make us have behaviours, learned behaviours, that might be self destructive, or destructive to others. But I fundamentally believe in what actually is the Andean belief in my country of something called ajayu. And ajayu is essentially our souls. So I truly believe in every human being. But because I’ve had myself these experiences, I’ve seen in my family, I’ve seen what all these daily struggles cause in people, I also know that we form a coping mechanism, we form a behaviour, we form an attitude. And we react to it, not because we’re bad people, I really don’t agree with anyone that says, ‘oh, it’s just a bad person, [they’re] evil’. I think from my own perspective, we have our own experiences [which] make us believe and act in the way that we act. And that’s why for me, I think the importance for mental health, and as a therapist, is that I hope as a therapist, and I hope that all of us in our humanity can accept that humanity that we have, but also accept that the way we behave is because of the experiences that we have that are absolutely valid. And we can work on that. I don’t personally believe that we need to change the human, because I think the human being we have our soul, we have our emotions, we have this ajayu which I hope people go and find out a bit more about the ajayu and our Andean beliefs. But we build mechanisms, and that could be destructive, that could be helpful to people. 

And that’s what the person centred approach is as well. And that’s why when I trained as a person centred therapist, it was the best thing I’ve done in my life, because the principles of the person centred approach really speak to me, speak to my heart and speak to what I believe in, which is congruence with people, trying to understand the point of view, empathy and not judging. You have a valid point and your experience is absolutely valid too.

AJ: Wow, thank you so much. It’s just wonderful to get a window onto that and the way that your own experience has shaped your perspective and also your therapeutic approach. That’s really interesting. And then you became a local councillor, an elected member, how many years ago?

CTD: May 2022. So I am elected until May 2026. It’s been an incredible journey. I was already feeling quite depressed as a child because of what was happening at home. And suddenly, there was this big movement of indigenous peoples fighting back with the government. I was 11 years old. This is kind of like a very before and after moment for me in my life. Watching the news – I always liked communications, that’s just a natural thing for me I think, I will always feel attracted to it so I watched a lot of the news – and there was this moment where the government planned to raise the cost of bread. And I remember, they tried to raise it by 10p or 15p, I can’t remember I’m gonna actually gonna go back and look because it’s such a historic moment for me in my life. And I saw indigenous peoples, they went on strike, and then they walked, I think around 200 kilometres, as a protest, saying: we are not allowing you to increase the price of bread. And it was all indigenous people, especially women – women, you know, are absolutely the voice of revolution in Bolivia. And I remember seeing that, and they won! The price of bread didn’t go up. And their struggle really sent me a message that yes, we can, you know, we absolutely can. And they didn’t know me, but I was following and celebrating but also translated [that] to my life. Because I thought, there is a way out. And that was in all the years of my depression at home, which lasted a good seven, eight years, in my formative years, teenage years, which was a really hard time for me because it was the height of the abuses and so on. And knowing, seeing people who are discriminated, who, you know, there’s a lot of disadvantages for them, they didn’t give up. And for me, that was my hope. 

Now, my political education, my political sort of formation, a militance, comes from the struggles of my own people, where we have fought against hierarchy, against colonialism, the empire, our trade unions are absolutely the voice of the country and that’s how I became a trade unionist. And that’s my beginning of the journey to come into being a councillor because I started working in community when I came to the UK. They tried to deport me three times in the first two years. So I was almost deported three times with that threat. And I remember once the Home Office calling me to say, ‘you know we can deport you and I can send the van to deport you and your child, you know you don’t have the right to be here’. And racist stuff like this as well that only a migrant can know. 

But coming to the bit about being a councillor now, those injustices led me to be a trade unionist. I was like, you know what, let me just join a trade union because when I was working in a women’s organisation, I realised that the common theme was, they don’t pay me, my pay slips are fake. We find out that members are receiving fake pay slips and there was this lady [who] said that she had worked 13 years with an employer and then she only found out in front of me, when we made the call to the HMRC that she’d never had any contributions paid towards her pension. You don’t forget that. And then that led me to go to a trade union because I thought, well, actually, we have systematic issues with workers rights. And being in the trade union movement for a number of years, those are my absolute favourite days. I’m still a trade union member and I do a lot of work on that. But when I was heavily involved as an organiser and so on, I saw that actually, there was a lot of deregulation, a lot of stuff actually at policy level that we need to change so then is when I thought okay let me actually go to a higher level which is, you know, local democracy and local government. That’s how I’m doing that now. And coupled with mental health, which actually not every borough has this. Hackney is a phenomenal borough, you know, extremely diverse. Obviously, it’s not perfect. But it’s an incredible borough [where] human rights is at the core of everything we do. And mental health, they opened this role for a Mental Health Champion and that’s what I am now, which I’m honoured to be, and I hope we do the best we can.

AJ: I wanted to ask, both in your work as a therapist and as a local councillor, based in Hackney, as a Mental Health Champion, what would you say are the key issues you see affecting people’s mental health day to day?

CTD: Well, there are many. I love your question, thank you. I really love your question. I feel that mental health has been completely ignored, well, until now. There is a movement about mental health. I’m sure you in the organisation you know better than probably many people, how little empathy and how little interest there has been for mental health and you’ve been part of that change, right? Because you’ve been consistent in what you believe mental health should be and be part of society. If we had taken mental health in consideration, in parity of esteem with physical health, in parity of esteem with other human rights that we have, I strongly believe that the world wouldn’t be what it is, if it really had paid attention to mental health being a human right. Which has been a campaign that I’ve been leading since 2017 when I launched a campaign that nearly 13,000 people signed. I was shocked. I sent it to Theresa May. Of course, I got a very bland, lame response, because, you know, there was no commitment. But we led on it. 

And then when I became Mental Health Champion, when I was interviewed by cabinet member councillor, Chris Kennedy, I remember saying very clearly, you know, if I’m given the role, because a few of us were interviewing for it, I really want to focus on social injustice and the impact on mental health. And I want to go all out in it, because I live social injustice. I’ve been a child labourer since the age of 7/8/9. And I know what it means to be in absolute poverty, which is what the Tories are doing at the moment, you know, all these sorts of austerity, and immigration policies, hostility towards us, you know, persecution of migrants and refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, hugely responsible, because actually the UK creates these conflicts in the countries that people are coming from. 

And so I feel for me, that the biggest agenda, and this is my agenda for life, is that mental health becomes a human right. I strongly, strongly believe that if we had had mental health as a human right from the beginning of times, we wouldn’t have the wars that we have, because you would have taken into account that actually bombing a city, killing people affects people’s mental health. And if we take mental health as a human, right, you wouldn’t be doing this, we wouldn’t be in the situation that we are now. And I think that’s why all of us have to join forces to make mental health part of our fundamental human rights. Because when you have a conflict, when you have an issue, and again – I go back a lot to Bolivia, you can see how much I love my native country, and how inspired I am because of the social revolutions that we had there – but I’ve seen people being shot and killed for natural resources. And you can bring all the court justices, international court justices in the world that you want, but eventually no one looks after the mental health. Absolutely no one. There is no law that protects your mental health. There is no law that says this person is being consistently prosecuted, consistently attacked, or the bank continues to send these letters threatening with more fines and evictions and whatever, and no one looks after your mental health. 

And I think that’s why I was very, very, very lucky, and I’m very grateful that Hackney Council and the cabinet lead and the whole mental health team, public health in Hackney, we are so in tune with what we want for society and humanity. And they were really keen and helpful with the motion that I brought forward about making mental health a human right.

So we are the first council in the UK and probably the world that listened to the United Nations call for mental health to follow a human rights approach. So now we adopted it in council. It’s the beginning, it’s gonna be a long journey, I’m sure. But we are the first council, not that it matters to me to be the first on things because I think that’s also very capitalist, but you know, it’s a fact. So, well done, Hackney Council. Well done, cabinet. Well done, the mayor at the time, the mayor now. Well done, the people of Hackney that really said, we are going with this motion, and we’re gonna push forward. And I hope we get to that point where mental health is a human right, and that would protect us from many, many things.

AJ: Thank you so much for that. And I think you’re so right. I feel like what we’re seeing at the moment, and what we at the Centre are really fighting against, is this kind of very individualised and quite siloed approach to mental health where we’re finally recognising as a nation and in government that mental health is important. I think there’s been like some really good recognition of that, as you’ve said, and what’s needed in schools, and all of these things. And these are all fantastic and these are all vital. But until we look at the bigger picture, like you’re saying about bills and austerity and hostile environments, and all of these things, we aren’t going to actually see real change happen. And this sense of needing a much more joined up approach. And we’re often calling for a cross-government approach, and a mental health in all policies test, where you go, okay, this policy that we’re trying to bring through here, this law that we’re trying to bring through here about, say housing, or workplace discrimination or anything like this, how does this policy, how will this law affect people’s mental health? Because at the moment, I don’t think we’re seeing that follow through. So that’s what we keep fighting for. And I’m just really grateful for what you’ve said.

CTD: Yeah, no, thank you, because that’s really well put, that is the situation that we are at now. Again, person centred therapy is very much based on the here and now and the reality and actually, let’s work on what it is and let’s not just imagine that or hope they will change, let’s work on what it is. I have a very strong view that it’s going to be a very strong battle. Because mental health not being embedded across society means that there are people that don’t want this to be embedded. There are big winners, there are big profiteers, that are making a lot of money from the mental health crisis. 

This isn’t just because I have a view about capitalism. I do actually agree with business. I fully agree with business and everyone thriving, but I also believe in workers rights, you having a good job, you having a good pension. You know, you dedicate your life to work. I don’t personally believe that we’ve been born to work. I think work is just a coping mechanism for society so you can survive and exist, it’s a way of survival. But ultimately, there are many, many, many stakeholders or people that are absolutely interested in continuing the mental health crisis, because it’s giving a lot of money to people. 

If you go to your GP (already our NHS is overworked) we often hear about people going to get mental health support, explain to the GP and so on, but very quickly, they are diagnosed or over diagnosed, or the diagnosis comes really fast, and then they’re given antidepressants as opposed to giving therapy, as opposed to giving other ways in which they can overcome or they can look at the mental health challenges that they’re having. So we have a high population that has a high level of antidepressants being taken. I don’t know how it is across the country, I don’t have those figures and certainties so I couldn’t claim [this] as a fact but my concern is often with the work that I have with clients or patients or the people that I work with, is that I see that those medications don’t have a review. So people that are meant to be having an antidepressant for three months, six months, they could be on them for years, including anti psychotics. So there is a lot of money being earned and profits being made from not resolving the mental health crisis and that’s my view.

AJ: Yeah, no, thank you for sharing that. And something I wanted to come back to and you mentioned earlier about experiences with the Home Office and as a new migrant here, something we have been hearing a lot about recently and have been talking about ourselves at the Centre is refugee mental health. We know there’s an awful lot of rhetoric and some really problematic narratives around migrants and refugees in this country. And we’re conscious that refugee mental health especially can be extremely poor. And there’s a lot of barriers, a lot of obstacles there. So I don’t know if you want to just tell us a little bit more about your perspective on that.

CTD: I’m gonna start by saying that part of the change that we need to have is actually what you’ve just done, which is giving this space. So asking the question. Because refugees, asylum seekers and migrants get overlooked, and we are used as a political football on a daily basis. We are blamed for everything. As a migrant, I have more rights, perhaps, and it’s interesting, because there are different groups to migration. And the rhetoric against asylum seekers and refugees, I think is extremely shameful for the UK. And for any country that chooses to close the doors to people that ultimately, and most of the time, are fleeing the very conflict that countries like the United Kingdom have created in them. I speak from a place of experience, this is not a criticism I have or a judgement or an opinion I have formed through news or passing comments. This is my lived experience of what the United Kingdom, the empire, Europe has done to countries like mine: bled them dry, taken all the resources, extracted our resources, and leaving us in absolute poverty. And then we need to go and find ways to survive, because of what they did to us for centuries, not just a year or two – centuries. Now, I find it extremely cynical, that the United Kingdom and countries in Europe or those countries that have extracted so much resources and continue to do it. I’ve just been to Africa and I was delighted to be there but I was upset half of the time and most of time angry saying, how come you have so much gold but there is also the situation that you’re in in certain areas. But maybe that’s another podcast that I’m happy to be called for.

AJ: Yep, I’ll book you now.

CTD: But there is an absolute cynicism to this. And I hope that the people that I work with in my community as well that are in the process of waiting to hear whether they get asylum status or that are refugees here, my position is: keep going, we’re going to do everything we can because you have the right to be here and you are not alone. I don’t believe in borders, we should have free movement, all of us, like the UK had in many nations around the world, you know, for centuries. So we should definitely be continuing to fight for their mental health and support for them. But I think the first step is this, as I was just saying to you, like even talking about it, that means acknowledgement. And often, in therapy, also, the fact that you feel acknowledged can be so healing. That can actually do three months’ worth of therapy, the fact that you’re acknowledged. The fact that you say, I see you and I accept you, I respect you and I absolutely acknowledge you, that can be so healing. So even just talking about this, putting it out online, people hearing about it, it brings healing to our communities. 

When I came to the UK, in Bolivia at the time, this was 20 years ago, I offered to come through boats. And I said no. So why I want to share this is because this isn’t a thing of just last year. What we’ve seen, especially after Brexit, we’ve seen of course, the magnitude of the anti migrant policies, but this has existed for decades. The broader public is seeing it but this has existed, [the] racism, hostile environment. And so it’s true, there were less pressures before on social media, perhaps, you didn’t know too much about it, but we were living it already. You know, I was four days away from becoming undocumented because no bank wanted to open a bank account for me. They even told me: Bolivians, not welcome here. And I actually literally had to leave the bank. Even security came and said sorry, no, you have to go. And I said, why I want to open a bank account, I have all the rights, I have all my criteria, I have all the checklist. And they wouldn’t let me. So, you know, this has been going on for a long time but we’re just hearing you now. 

And I will say, I hope that more funding is released. We need to sort out, of course, the mental health crisis. And as the last point I will just mention this bit related to how I feel and this part of the campaign I also feel very strongly about, is that we need to look really closely as to how the NHS and Talking Therapies and specifically IAPT is working. Because I don’t know if you know this – and this is actual facts, you can go online, you can look it up today, I’m happy to share the link – the NHS, our wonderful NHS, shares live data on how psychological talking therapy is being allocated and taken. And you can look at it any moment. There is actually monthly reports and yearly reports, quarterly reports. I’m in the Health Commission, by the way, and I also feel very passionate about this topic. But if you look at it now, the national data says that, roughly speaking, 1.6 million people are referred for therapy, for talking therapy. So that’s 1.6 million. Out of those 1.6 million people, only 600,000 complete treatment. So we’re talking about, roughly, at national level (and of course, that can be different in every borough), but at national level, we’re talking about a million people that actually don’t engage in therapy, or in the sessions. Now, out of the 600,000 people that do complete sessions or their treatment, to be considered as ‘completed’, you only have to attend two sessions out of ten. 

So what I’m saying is that, and this is something that I have requested and I’ll continue to request until it happens, that we do scrutiny over what’s happening in IAPT. I’m part of the Northeast London Health Commission that looks at the delivery of the NHS in four boroughs. And I’m really excited to look at this because this, to me, says that the formula is not working. And what happens with that million people, that get the funding, but actually the people don’t access it. And it might be because it’s not a system that works. And that money, I hope those funds could be released and diversified to the rest of communities, for example, supporting groups and mental health for refugees, for asylum seekers, for organisations that provide these, but don’t have the funding. And I might be completely wrong. I hope I am. But I feel that there is a chunk of money, of public funds, that is not being utilised in the way that it should be because of whatever reason, we need to find out why. It’s a system that has continued to be like that for years. So we need to redistribute those funds so that [they] go to projects, like for example, supporting refugees, supporting asylum seekers, supporting supporting women, for example, that have fertility issues and families that have fertility issues that go completely invisible in the country, they have such little support except from the charities that work so hard. But you know, there are many areas that need support, but they don’t have it, because there’s no funds. But we have funds that [are] I don’t think fully working. A long answer again to your question.

AJ: No, I mean, I really would love to actually carry on talking about that. And maybe we’ll have to bring you back for another podcast. I think the whole NHS Talking Therapies thing is a really interesting conversation. I think IAPT has has been amazing at bringing therapy to more people, but equally we know that there’s major inequality of access as well, We know that people from some Black communities are far less likely to access or complete therapy. We’ve heard on our podcast and in other blogs how a lot of mainstream therapy is not set up for people who are from racialised communities, for instance, the fact, as we kind of touched on before we started recording, about lack of representation [among] therapeutic professionals. So there’s so much there that still needs to be unpacked to make sure that mental health services actually work for everyone and are effective for everyone. So I totally agree with you.

CTD: Absolutely. I mean, just on that point, because I work with migrant communities, especially the Latin American communities, and do a lot of work on that. After I couldn’t access my bank accounts, I felt very inspired to work in the community, and that’s where I started my community work. But I was just going to say that, for example, I’ve seen so many colleagues that have masters after masters and huge amounts of experience, I’m really far behind from the experience that they have, and they cannot get their degree recognised in the UK. That’s another barrier that they have. I did my training here, I sent my documents and I got my licence within a week. And I have colleagues that actually had to retrain even in a lower degree than the experience that they had in their home countries, because there is barriers to access. Not every nationality can actually go through the process of working or having the same psychology degree or psychiatry etc. It’s a very gruesome process in the UK. And that forms, I think, part of the inequality.  But yeah, we, we can go on, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity. Thank you. Thank you so much.

AJ: Claudia, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s really been an inspiring chat and I would love to chat longer. We’ll have you on again. But thank you, good luck and best wishes with everything that you’re doing. Strength to you because it’s amazing. We’re grateful for you. So thank you.

CTD: No, thank you. We are gonna work on arm in arm for mental health. I’m so happy [about] meeting Andy as well, so inspirational. You guys are amazing. So thank you. Let’s continue to work together and for everyone that listens to this podcast I hope you leave committed or more affirmed [for] mental health so let’s all join forces. Thank you.

AJ: Thanks so much for listening. I really hope this conversation inspired you in the fight for mental health equality. We rely on support to fight for change, so please give what you can at centreformentalhealth.org.uk/donate. See you next time.

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