Guest post by Lucy Russell
I am a 43 year-old clinical psychologist from Buckinghamshire. When I worked in NHS mental health services, flexible working was not an option. Things came to a head in 2011. My children were 2 and 5. I was on call by telephone in the evenings, in a specialist foster care service, which was very demanding. One evening I was reading my son his bedtime story, giving him his milk, and speaking to a foster carer on the phone simultaneously. At this moment I realised the balance wasn’t there. I left the NHS and set up Everlief Child Psychology – an independent mental health clinic, with my husband Mike.
Through the quality of our care we quickly gained a strong reputation. I offer one-to-one assessments and therapy, mostly one-hour slots at times which suit me. I write my reports from home. We now have sixteen psychologist associates. Our three consulting rooms are in constant use throughout the day.
Fitting in work and family life: The best bits
Our children are now ten and thirteen. They are sporty and musical: For Toby, football and guitar; for Olivia cheerleading and violin. Mike and I have managed to set ourselves up flexibly so that we can share childcare. One of us is always on hand to provide the (many) taxi services to sports clubs, music lessons, or friends’ homes. We also have 3 cats and a dog! Things are hectic, especially without any family nearby. With careful planning and constant communication, we gradually get into a rhythm each term. Flexible working also allows me to fit in some hobbies (adult cheerleading and singing in a vocal group).
The worst bits
My least favourite part about running a business is finance. I am grateful that this is a strength of Mike’s. I am the clinical lead and he manages all non-clinical areas. My advice when starting a business is to find partners who offer complementary skills.
My biggest mistake
Three years ago Mike and I designed an online course to help children facing school-based anxiety. It didn’t sell well. In hindsight, the idea was great, but we knew too little about advertising such a product. Our philosophy is “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” however.
Last year, with colleagues I published Brighter Futures, a parents’ guide to helping their primary-aged children with mental health difficulties (https://tinyurl.com/y4bm76e5).
Recently, I launched a parenting website, They Are The Future. My intentions were twofold: Firstly, to achieve even more flexibility. Secondly, because our clinic cannot meet the overwhelming demand. They Are The Future can reach a wider audience and offer sound, psychology-based parenting support.
Looking to the future
In five years I hope They Are The Future will be profitable through book sales and online courses for parents. My dream is for some of the profits to be invested in a charity to provide psychology support, for schools and parents who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
They Are The Future – https://theyarethefuture.co.uk/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tatfwellbeing/