top of page

Removing Mental Health Barriers Through Accredited Training – Interview With Joanne Docherty

Hi, I'm Joanne Docherty. I am the founder of Starra Education, which takes up a big chunk of my life, but I am a multi-passionate person. I have got so many interests and sometimes I feel like there's just not enough time for me to explore all the things I am interested in. I also teach Psychology at the University of Glasgow. I am on the board of two non-profit organisations committed to improving outcomes for children and families in Scotland. I'm on the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group for Mental Health and the most important role of all: I am mama to a beautiful daughter and partner to the most amazing man. I am very lucky and very blessed to get to lead the life that I do.

Joanne Docherty, Consultant/Trainer and University Tutor

What is your business name and how do you help your clients?

My business name is Starra Education. Like most things I do, it has a really personal, special meaning. In Scottish Gaelic ‘cnap-starra’ means obstacle or barrier. What I want to do through education is remove barriers, remove obstacles around mental health. I deliver accredited mental health training and qualifications, working with organisations across the UK and globally, and also working with individuals. People can work with me privately and they can come on a course and gain a qualification in mental health first aid, which equips them with the skills they need to support someone who is experiencing difficulties with their mental health.

What is your work inspired by?

An inherent need to help people. I want people to do well. To be happy. To feel supported. To thrive. This along with my mother who was severely mentally ill. She didn’t have an easy life at all. She experienced a lot of stigma and discrimination because of her schizophrenia. There was a real lack of education and understanding then. In fact there still is now, so a big part of what I do is bringing awareness to this. A nod to my mama.

Who inspires me to be the best that I can be?

I can't single this to one person. I have got such an amazing circle around me. I am hugely inspired by my grandmother, my nan. Despite losing her when I was ten, she continues to be my role model, my inspiration. She really instilled in me a love of learning, a love of community, helping, being strong and she is always at the back of my mind, guiding my decisions, helping me make good decisions. I'm also incredibly supported by my partner, Owen. I don't subscribe to the notion that that one person completes you. I think you can do what you want alone, and you can thrive alone. You don't need another person. But his love, care, support, the way that he champions me, the way that he challenges me when I need it. He really helps me be the best version of myself. I'm also very inspired and motivated by my daughter because I want her to grow up in a world that's a little bit kinder and that's a massive motivating factor in the work that I do.

Greatest career achievement.

I have had such an amazing career that is so fulfilling. But my greatest achievement, I would roll it right back to getting my first degree. That was such an achievement. I am so proud of myself, that I managed to put myself through university without any support. I worked every night in a call centre. I was starting to process a lot of trauma that I had experienced as a child. And the fact I managed it, the fact I did well, I'm still really, really proud of that and achieving that degree was also the springboard for a really successful international career teaching abroad.

What are your current goals for your business?

Business is going really well for me. My goal is to continue to grow but also remain balanced and still be able to spend time with my family. I burnout once before so I will never do that again. I am working on some interesting international projects, so I want to continue to do that. I have been working on a joint venture to start a support community for people who have been affected by severe mental illness so we are hoping to launch that soon. Keep an eye out over the summer!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



Bri Anderson.jpg
  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04


bottom of page