Leoni Mitchell

Meet recent participant in our Trauma Informed training programme, Leoni Mitchell, Assistant Psychologist


"I use psychology to risk assess and provide treatment/therapy to women in a secure setting. I have been working in this sector for eight years. 

I grew up in an environment where I was exposed to a number of risk factors including criminal activity, substance misuse, and deterioration of mental health. I wanted to understand the choices individuals made and the situations individuals found themselves in to make decisions where they harmed themselves and others.

The One Small Thing training days help me understand and explore trauma further. A large proportion of the women I currently work with and our inpatients at the hospital have an extensive history of trauma. 

I have been exposed to One Small Thing’s work in the prison previously, having worked as a Trainee Forensic Psychologist in the prison system. To have a discussion and presentation, exploring trauma from leaders within the field was the most useful thing from training, as questions related to my direct role were asked immediately. I appreciated the diverse mixture of the attendees, this enabled a more rich discussion and I gained an understanding of how the training assisted their exploration of trauma in their settings. Since attending, I've become more assertive in discussing trauma within the multi-disciplinary team (MDT), especially identifying the trauma which staff experience which may go unrecognized. 

The biggest challenge in my work is staying on top of paperwork. It needs to be kept up to date in accordance to the women’s risk and needs.

The reward happens when there are changes in the women’s presentation, attitude or insight. The change does not need to be significant, it can be small, but it could be the step to changing her future.

If there’s one small thing I could do to improve the system for prison residents… I would provide more skill training, which can be used in the community to support and encourage a pro-social lifestyle. I would also have courses available for the prison residents to continue in the community, possibly as part of their probation.

When I’m not working, I run, almost as much as Forest Gump. 

I run marathons, 5k's 10k's all on different terrains. I even ventured into Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) this year. Running is the only thing I do where I feel free (from stress) and do not think about anything. In April 2018, I completed Paris Marathon. Looking for my next adventure.

My mother is my hero. I've witnessed what she has been through and still she remains strong and positive. She has taught me strength, she taught me not to be dependent on others, not to judge others, do not worry about how others judgement of me, do what I enjoy and be happy whilst doing it.

I have so many mottoes. They are fitting at the time when I need them.  One of them is make one good deed a day. I strongly believe a small deed, regardless how small can change someone's day or their life."

Photograph by Roo Kendall

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