Mental Health Telephone Support Worker, National Telehealth Service
Master of Health Science
Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) in Psychology
Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology
An important part of psychology is about genuine connections, says Ian Gutteridge who recently completed his Master of Health Science in Psychology and is on the path towards becoming a counselling psychologist.
“After working in retail for a long time, I realised that I had a natural way of interacting with people and I wanted to draw on that ability in a way that was meaningful. Psychology felt like a rewarding and worthwhile pathway with an opportunity to take full advantage of my natural skills and explore my curiosities.
“The time I’ve spent at AUT showed me that the field of psychology is a good fit for me, inspiring me to continue into the postgraduate programme with the aim of becoming a counselling psychologist.”
Throughout his time at AUT he has met many inspirational people, Ian says.
“The highlight of my time at AUT has been the people I met because they were such a big part of making my experience what it has been. I’d most certainly recommend the AUT psychology programme because, in my experience, it’s encouraging, covers a broad range of topics and helps you discover what’s important.”
The experiences of mental health support workers
In addition to his studies, Ian has been providing mental health support for the New Zealand National Telehealth Service for the past three years, and he decided to focus on this experience for his Master of Health Science research project.
“Since the completion of my Bachelor of Health Science (Honours), I’ve been working for the National Telehealth Service as a mental health telephone support worker, providing emotional support to the people of New Zealand. Over the years I’ve found this to be quite a challenging and demanding role. I was curious about my team’s experiences, including how they manage in their role and how they’re supported, and decided to explore this topic for my master’s degree.”
Ian is grateful for the support and encouragement AUT academic staff provided throughout his research project.
“My primary supervisor, Dr Giulia Lowe, and her mentor, Dr Maria Bellringer, both work at the AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre and were instrumental in the development of my research project. I’m especially grateful for Giulia’s research experience, guidance and patience.”
Advice for other students
Having recently completed his Master of Health Science, Ian has some great advice for other students.
“Study at your own pace, enjoy the whole experience, and build a support group that is motivating. Be kind to yourself and take your time with what you want to achieve. It’s so easy to rush toward a goal and miss important things along the way.”
After the challenges of 2020, Ian is certainly following his own advice and is currently taking a year off from his studies before returning to AUT to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology.
“Under normal circumstances, studying at university is challenging enough but, let’s face it, 2020 was an absolute spectacle, for all of us. I decided to take this year off from studying and recharge my wairua. This year I’m working for the National Telehealth Service and next year I’ll re-enrol at AUT to complete my studies and gain my registration as a counselling psychologist.”