Chatting with Karen Dresback, LGBTQ Advocacy Worker

white woman with green jacket and backpack, orange scarf, smiling turning back at the camera. looks as though she is about to board an aeroplane.

What is your role at MindOut?

I am an advocate and the member of the team who leads and takes on the majority of housing and over-50s cases. I help to link people in with housing services and make housing applications and transfer requests. I also put people in touch with other support services. For the over-50s project I liaise with the Age Matters project leader and support clients with various issues including accessing adequate healthcare, benefits, and helping older LGBTQ people find social support.

What do you love about working at MindOut? 

The people. At MindOut you come into contact with lots of different people who are inspiring in many different ways and there are always opportunities to learn from others whether they be service users, volunteers or staff. We have a supportive staff team and even during this period of working remotely, there has always someone to talk issues through with.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Seeing the positive change in people who have accessed our services. Knowing that you have helped people to improve their wellbeing and self-confidence.

How have you looked after your mental health this year?

Even before the first lockdown I was taking long walks to look after my mental health and this became even more important when the pandemic hit. Since breaking my leg in late August I have been unable to do this so it has been important for me to make sure I keep up with daily physiotherapy exercises and to get outside as often as possible.

Keeping in touch with friends and family over the phone and on video calls, and just taking care of the small, even boring, things have helped. It really does help my mental health to get that washing up done, the laundry put away, the plants watered and to get a good meal in my belly.

What songs have you been listening to that’s helped you stay positive during the pandemic?

The one song that will always remind me of the first phase of the pandemic is Matt Lucas’ ‘Thank You Baked Potato’. It’s just the right level of silliness to engage and get the public health advice across. And baked potato is my favourite comfort food!

Other than that, the Beastie Boys have featured on most of my walking playlists over the next couple of months. I mostly listen to Radio 3 and my music highlight of the year would be the mesmerising Anoushka Shankar & Gold Panda’s Prom concert, which is still available on iPlayer.

What animal would you be and why?

A domestic cat. I like to be independent but also like to be looked after when I need it, and I’m always looking to find a cosy place to curl up and go to sleep!