We love to hear what our former students have been up to since leaving Carmel College. Abigail Thomson has been working extra hard alongside her Psychology degree at Sussex University, helping families dealing with mental health problems.

Here’s what Abigail says:

“During my undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex, I have sought numerous opportunities for further development and learning. In 2019 I completed a ten-month professional placement within Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. In this role, I explored the intergenerational transmission of anxiety as part of the Flourishing Families Research Clinic. My roles involved helping parents access services through IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), assisting with group therapy sessions and contributing to reports.

“Alongside this, during the Covid-19 lockdown of spring 2020, I launched Sussex’s first Youth PPI Service User Involvement Group online. We helped people aged 16-22 with lived experience of mental health problems. This role gave me the opportunity to network with experts to bring novel research to the group. Since this launch, I have collaborated with university scholars, NHS organisations and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for Kent, Surrey, Sussex, advising on how best to place the voices of young service users at the forefront of research.

“I was part of the team working on the Family Adjustment during the COVID-19 Epidemic (FACE) Study. I created a website for the study to allow the dissemination of findings. I also assisted with analysis of parent and child interviews, exploring key themes raised by participants in domains. This involved researching loneliness and isolation, adjusting to changes in work-life balance, and managing the emotional and academic impacts of schools’ closure.

“At the moment, I am on track to receive funding for a PhD, following the completion of my undergraduate degree.

Reflecting on her time at Carmel, she says,

“My time at Carmel (2015-2017) is probably one of the reasons I am so proactive in my work. It taught me independence and gave me the maturity I needed to pursue a career in this field. I am especially grateful to Kim (Biology) and Dan (English) for their support during my time at Carmel and for the guidance I received around which course to pursue at University. Kim was one of the best teachers I had and went above and beyond to help me during my time there. Without the guidance and advice I was given and the confidence to do what I loved, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”