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Horizontal Networking: Embracing a New Blueprint for Success in the Mental Health Field

This blog discusses the difference between horizontal and vertical networking, the benefits of horizontal networking in the mental health field, and the added advantages of being a member of the BiPP Network.


 

Horizontal Networking: Embracing a New Blueprint for Success in the Mental Health Field


Written by Idriss Kamtcheu


In the mental health field, networking serves as a pivotal tool for personal and professional growth. However, while traditional vertical networking – the practice of building professional connections primarily with individuals who are higher in authority or seniority within their field (Hailley, 2024) – does have its benefits, for those navigating their early careers, it does not always provide the insight and support needed. Instead, embracing horizontal networking – the practice of building professional connections with individuals who are at similar career stages or levels of experience (Hailley, 2024) –-- can offer unique advantages, fostering collaboration, innovation, and shared experiences within the field.


In this blog, the BiPP Network delve into the significance of horizontal networking and glean insights from diverse perspectives within the mental health community. We also discuss why joining organisations such as our own, which foster networking, can be a great career decision.




Benefits of Horizontal Networking

Networking horizontally, or across similar career stages, offers a myriad of benefits that shape both personal and professional development. While vertical networking may seem appealing for access to established figures, horizontal networking provides a platform for mutual support, information sharing, and alternative career pathways. As Dr Sarah Atayero, Clinical Psychologist and BiPP Partnership Director, underscores: “Horizontal networking facilitates a sense of camaraderie among peers, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by Black professionals in the field. This interconnectedness not only fosters empathy but also sparks creativity and resilience amid shared experiences”.


Gabrielle Williams, Assistant Psychologist and Communication Manager at BiPP echoes this sentiment, emphasising the wealth of insight to be gained from engaging with peers on similar trajectories; allowing individuals to broader their perspectives, explore unconventional avenues and gain invaluable advice from a diverse mentorship network. This inclusive approach not only cultivates a sense of community but also empowers individuals to navigate their professional journeys with confidence and adaptability.


Horizontal networking facilitates a sense of camraderie among peers, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by Black professionals in the field.

Tips for Horizontal Networking

Navigating horizontal networking within the mental health field requires initiative, confidence, and a willingness to embrace new connections. Gabrielle shares some advice she would give to her younger self, urging individuals “not to shy away from initiating conversations or seeking mentorship opportunities”. She continues by stating that “taking the initiative in a field driven by collaboration and shared learning can open doors to invaluable insights, support networks, and potential collaborations”. Sarah also emphasises, “Making the first move is often the catalyst for building meaningful relationships and unlocking new opportunities within the mental health landscape.”


Furthermore, cultivating a mindset of reciprocity and generosity can amplify the benefits of horizontal networking. This can be anything from offering help without expecting immediate returns to celebrating the successes of your peers on social media and in person. Looking for opportunities to facilitate connections and collaborations among members of your network, even if it doesn't directly benefit you, to encourage individuals who are eager to support and uplift their peers, fostering a culture of mutual growth and empowerment. This being made possible whether through informal meetups, professional events, or online communities, is the result of embracing a proactive approach to networking; and can yield exponential rewards, both personally and professionally.


Making the first move is often the catalyst for building meaningful relationships and unlocking new opportunities within the mental health landscape

Benefits of the BiPP Network's Membership

As an integral part of the BiPP team, members gain access to a vibrant community committed to driving positive change within psychology and psychiatry. In our discussions with Sarah, she highlights the transformative impact of being part of a collective dedicated to challenging the status quo and fostering authenticity and creativity: “Through collaborative initiatives, events, and workshops, BiPP members have the opportunity to hone essential skills, expand their professional horizons, and make tangible contributions to advancing mental health equity”.


Gabrielle underscores the holistic development fostered by BiPP membership, citing gaining firsthand experiences in public speaking, project planning, communication, and research dissemination: “Beyond skill acquisition, BiPP offers a supportive ecosystem where individuals can thrive personally and professionally, propelling them towards becoming standout candidates in the mental health field”.


Beyond skill acquisition, BiPP offers a supportive ecosystem where individuals can thrive personally and professionally, propelling them towards becoming standout candidates in the mental health field

Conclusion

In a field as dynamic and multifaceted as mental health, the power of networking horizontally cannot be overstated. By embracing collaboration, shared learning, and community-building, individuals can harness the collective wisdom and support of their peers to navigate their professional journeys with confidence and resilience. Through initiatives like BiPP, the mental health community is poised to usher in a new era of inclusivity, innovation, and collective impact. As we embark on this journey together, let us embrace the transformative potential of horizontal networking and pave the way for a brighter, more interconnected future in mental health.


We provide an opportunity for our peers to engage in this by hosting our first ever professional networking event on 25 April 2024 at King's College London. Attendees can expect a curated selection of activities designed to facilitate networking, courtesy of the BiPP team. 


Prepare to elevate your network, and register for your ticket now!



References

Hailley. (2024, January 29). Horizontal or Lateral Networking: A Tool For Career Growth.

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