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This month we hear from Megan Croal, Clinical Science Research Associate at COMPASS …  

 

I am a part of the COMPASS team helping to …  ensure that our clinical trials are planned, set up, and documented appropriately, and that even minor decisions are evidence-based and backed up by recent literature  

I work in mental health care because …  I love learning about the human brain. Its complexity is fascinating and makes me want to understand more. I’m someone who is interested in almost everything I learn about – working in mental health care allows me to explore my broad interests while narrowing down my focus a little.

It’s still only recently that mental health has been considered an important aspect of our wellbeing and function. Many psychiatric disorders are still misunderstood, and they aren’t something that can be alleviated by mindfulness and yoga alone – which social media can sometimes portray. People still struggle to comprehend how something that isn’t physically visible can have such a deadly impact.  

It’s easy to feel hopeless when you or a loved one is in a situation where nothing seems to get better. To work in a field that aims to have a positive impact that could change someone’s entire world is a great privilege 

 The part of my job I most enjoy is …  how varied it is! I feel very lucky to be part of so many exciting aspects of what COMPASS is working towards. There really isn’t a dull (or quiet!) moment – having a great team helps with that too 

 The book everyone should read is … “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker – which happened to be a gift from COMPASS during my internship in 2020. It really opened my eyes to how underrated sleep is for quality of life and encouraged me to prioritise it. I went from being an avid coffee drinker to cutting out caffeine entirely! I now sleep 8-10 hours every night, which has greatly improved my mental health. Most people are convinced that they’re a “night owl” but it’s rarely the case! 

 The best place I’ve ever visited is … I’ve been lucky enough to visit many incredible places around the world including working in conservation in Namibia, backpacking through Vietnam, and hitchhiking and camping across Norway. I love to experience new places and cultures, so I couldn’t choose one! But I think I’m at my happiest when surrounded by nature. Get me into the mountains or deep under the ocean (preferably with a scuba tank) and I’m good to go. Since London isn’t the most hiking-friendly city, I’ve even taken to setting up my tent in my flat just to get a hit of those wilderness vibes 

 The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is … that plans are for when nothing better comes along. I tend to avoid having specific goals, as I find that they hold me back from taking opportunities as they come up. My interests and values continuously develop, and so my ambitions follow suit 

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