Navigate native: get to know the team with Matt Wall, Director of Partnerships and Mental Health first aider
Through our navigate native series, we’re giving you a chance to peer behind the curtains and see what it’s like to work at native. Kicking this off, we decided to speak to Matt Wall, one of our Mental Health first aiders and Head of Partnerships.
Let’s take a look at what he has to say as he gives advice to his younger, student self and to those who may be struggling and worried to reach out as well as giving us insight from his own experience as to what it’s like to work in the student space.
1. What gets you up in the morning?
I love working with SUs for many reasons; to improve service delivery, help them make more money and improve the student experience. Working to support them to do more makes me bounce out of bed (normally)! That, and coffee helps.
On a non-work day, getting out and about. I love nature, the countryside and skiing in backcountry snow.
2. Describe working at native in 3 words.
Exciting, Different and Fast
3. What excited you about working in the student space?
I absolutely love what SUs have the capability to do. Working in a Students’ Union allows you to make a radical difference to an engaged group of students. I am excited to see how we can help SUs grow this support to help maximise the impact they have on their students’ lives.
4. As a mental health first aider at native, what advice would you give someone who is struggling but is afraid to ask for help? And what does your role as mental health first aider at native involve?
Reach out! There are loads of people to talk to and if you want a confidential conversation, speak to a Mental Health First Aider. Do not suffer in silence – a problem shared is a problem halved!
We need to remove stigma around mental health and open up on some of the challenges and how this impacts everyone in some form – everyone has mental health. To managers – I would always encourage you to ask how people ‘feel’ and even better, ask them twice and encourage people to be open about their feelings. Sometimes this comes from being open with yours too.
A Mental Health First Aider is trained to recognise, help and support someone who is experiencing poor mental health. They are not counsellors or doctors in the same way physical first raiders are not doctors or paramedics.
5. What advice would you give to your younger, student self?
I wasn’t involved in the SU until my third year. I would look back now and tell myself to be more involved in my Students’ Union from the get go – so many super cheap activities, trips and interest groups.
I missed out on loads of things because I was more focussed on DJing and promoting events!
6. Quick fire Q: What’s your funniest staff party experience?
Funniest…I’m not sure I should tell you. Some things that happen at staff parties should never be spoken about.
Last year our office taskmaster event was great – we had lots of fun doing stupid stuff and working with different departments on strange solutions to problems!