Hey! My name is Hayley Blundy and I am Studio Assistant and certified Mental Health First Aider at FuturLab. I’m also a Mum of two, entrepreneur, eternal perfectionist, street dance teacher and Lego building extraordinaire rolled into one who wholeheartedly believes in taking care of people’s well-being.
Here is my story about how joining FuturLab helped me regain confidence after suffering with Post Natal Depression and how I am flying the flag for mental health awareness within our company.
In the Summer of 2018, whilst on maternity leave, I was made redundant. At the time, I was suffering from post natal depression and anxiety which had severely taken its toll on my confidence and self-esteem. As I started to apply for jobs, I found it increasingly difficult to ‘sell myself’ and after many lengthy applications with no response, one terrible interview and a whole lot of stress, I had all but given up hope of finding employment that would work around my family and give me some much needed ‘me time’.
Amidst all this, I had started a small business to support mothers going through similar experiences and it was important for me to find a role that would allow continuation of this passion project.
During one sleepless night, I saw an advert for the role of Studio Assistant at FuturLab. It was short, to the point and without any jargon or intimidating copy. Having never been into games, I wasn’t sure that I would be the right fit, but the advert did say that an interest in games wasn’t necessary, so I took the plunge and applied.
I was invited to an interview by the directors, Kirsty and James, during which I was asked what my biggest life achievement to date was. I had never really given this much thought and so what came out of my mouth was a surprise to me!
I told them that it was recognising I was ill and seeking help to improve my mental wellbeing for the sake of myself and those around me, and that I was using my experience to start a small business and support other mums going through the same.
I left the interview thinking that my confession may have cost me the job. I assumed they wouldn’t want to hire someone that had been so open about their mental health struggles and that I would be considered a problem before I had even been given a chance. I was disappointed in myself…
Fortunately for me, they loved how honest I had been – that I hadn’t simply told them what I thought they wanted to hear – and were extremely supportive. I was offered the role and I didn’t hesitate to accept.
I have now been with FuturLab for just over a year and in that time my mental health has vastly improved. The team are all amazing and I felt part of a family very quickly. I have been thoroughly supported with regular 1:1’s and been given the freedom to find my feet and shape my role so that the work I do is not only valuable for the team but fun and engaging for me. The hours are perfect, and they are really encouraging and respectful of my own business outside of work too.
Finding managers that support, nurture and encourage my mental well-being has been a vital part of my recovery and I am so glad that things have worked out the way they have. I am a self-titled Studio Mum and plan to stay here for as long as they will have me!
Recently, I was given the opportunity to certify as a Mental Health First Aider with MHFA England. The course equipped me with the tools and knowledge to look out for signs of common mental ill health complaints such as anxiety, depression and stress and to act as a safe person to assist and signpost to professional services where necessary. This is a badge I wear proudly and take very seriously.
What I have learned this past year is not to be ashamed of mental ill health and that it is not only helpful, but beneficial to be honest when I am having a hard time and that is thanks to the amazing support of everyone here at FuturLab.