Hello, my name is Carlyn Boyce and I am the Clinical Lead for the therapy arm of the West Yorkshire Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub and I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute as part of Black History Month.

Carlyn Boyce

The theme of this year's Black History Month is 'celebrating our sisters' and is a great launchpad in recognising and celebrating the invaluable contributions of black women in our lives - although this should be celebrated all year round. 

I'm conscious of my position as a role model across the organisation. Being a black woman in a leadership role is something I'm incredibly proud of. I hope it can inspire others that anything can be possible, regardless of race and ethnicity. 

At the start of my career, I was not surrounded with many black women to look up to within my level of leadership. However, in recent years, it has been brilliant to see more and more amazing women working within my field and across the organisation.

I looked to my grandmother who was a huge inspiration to me growing up. The lessons I have learnt from her will stay with me into both my professional life and in my family and personal life too.

My grandmother came to the UK from Barbados and tirelessly raised five children in a completely new environment and culture. Her kindness, determination and empathy has inspired me in my psychological career - and is still my biggest role model today. 

I love my culture and heritage. It is a big part of who I am, I think it's so important to emphasise who we are outside of work and make connections on a deeper level. I'm not only a Clinical Lead, but I am also a mother, a friend, a neighbour. I try to instil the lessons I have learnt from my grandmother in our team within the Hub therapy service.

It is important to lead with kindness and compassion so that we can inspire both our therapy team and our service users. I hope my journey can motivate ethnically diverse colleagues, can shape inclusive services, and support the next generation of black and ethnically diverse women within the NHS. 

I am proud that my cousin Natalie has recently become a manager within the NHS and is mental health nurse by background. I hope I inspired her to take the leap.

Make sure to prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing. If you work in a health and care environment and are experiencing feelings that are difficult to cope with, our mental health workers are here to support you now and find the extra help that is right for you. 

The Hub is completely confidential, wherever you work or volunteer, and offers free advice and support that can help with a range of issues including sleep, stress and burnout, and anxiety. Visit the Hub to find out more