"Southdown support has helped me get my job back, which has given me my confidence back, and helped me get my life back on track"

Work in Mind Client

Support has enabled me to communicate to my employers in a way that suits me. It has helped me identify and avoid any stressors that could cause me to spiral out of control.

Southdown support has helped me get my job back, which has given me my confidence back, and helped me get my life back on track.

I was referred to Work in Mind by Health in Mind who were trying trauma therapy with me. It wasn’t working so they sent me to a psychiatrist.

I’d started to have time off sick from work. I was off for two months. It was all triggered by stress. I couldn’t understand why I was stressed because the caretaker job I had was perfect.

I used to work in mental health but I had a breakdown at the acute mental health unit I worked at. At that time my wife was diagnosed with cancer and there were only nine months between her diagnosis and her death.

After small jobs, the jobcentre nudged me into nursing, but that didn’t work so I had another relapse. Then I got a job as a caretaker which is perfect.

But my depression got worse. It aggravates my anxiety where I can’t even use the phone. If I miss the initial contact from someone, the anxiety gets worse. Even texting, emailing, and opening letters becomes impossible. It’s like a spiral.

I was at my worst when I first met my Employment Specialist at the Wellbeing Centre. I couldn’t see my way out.  I got so bad I couldn’t even see my GP for a month and a half. But when I did see one of my doctors it was a quick process and they referred me back to Health in Mind.

I realised later it was the relationship I was in that was causing stress. I left and that’s when I had the internal drive to not let someone control me. The illness was already controlling me. I didn’t want a person to as well.

I saw my Employment Specialist from Work in Mind at the beginning of December after I had received letters from my employers in November. Because I couldn’t open them, and I couldn’t contact them, I had lost my job.

Initially the support involved doing what I couldn’t do – contacting my employers and looking at the letters, emails, and texts. I had regular meetings with my Employment Specialist to check in with how things were.

I had a phone and keys I had to give back to my employer and I wanted to explain to them what had happened. My Employment Specialist advocated for me and had a meeting with my manager and explained the main reason why I couldn’t contact them personally.

At the time, my employers were interviewing people for my role but they said they’d see me after the series of interviews. They arranged to have an informal chat with me just before Christmas because they really valued my work and they didn’t want me to leave.

They asked my Employment Specialist to record in an email what had happened and what support the Work in Mind service had in place for me.

And then I started back at work in January!

Support has enabled me to communicate to my employers in a way that suits me. It has helped me identify and avoid any stressors that could cause me to spiral out of control, and has helped me with my benefits after I had been underpaid by £1300.

Work is going fine. One of the main reasons I enjoy it is I’m not looking after people!  I don’t have to deal with phones. I just deal with builders! I manage myself, I’ve got autonomy. I feel appreciated.

I’ve got a second job as a cleaner in a primary school for two hours a day. It’s intense because it’s a large area to clean. I did for a moment think it was a mistake because I’d taken on too much and it was making me tired in the morning but I’ve stayed. It gives me pocket money. I’ve got myself into a routine.

I’m also in a new relationship. It’s going very well. We’re engaged! She got down on her knees and asked me to marry her! My partner is very positive and full of life. There’s no drama. There’s no stress. She trusts me. We go out to pubs and parties which I’ve never done before.

I feel positive about the future. I’ve seen enough, been through enough hurt.

I still have an initial panic when there’s a problem, but it’s short and sweet now because I feel I can message my Employment Specialist.

It was the depression and anxiety that was the major problem and then the grieving process. But now I don’t have to think about it anymore. I’m on medication. I still have flutters of anxiety, but that’s normal, that’s life.

I’m living a good life now. Not having a job was depressing, as well as me having depression.

Work in Mind is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In a nutshell, I lost my job and the service helped me get my job back!

Work in Mind provides tailored employment support to help people with mental health challenges secure or retain work. The service works in partnership with East Sussex Health in Mind so that we can offer people accessing psychological therapies the opportunity to receive specialist employment support at the same time. Work in Mind follows the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model and is identified as an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.