Kat | Mental health at work | The Mix

After I started self-harming, I was very good at hiding the evidence of what I’d done, and hiding my arms and things like that, so it really wasn’t very easy for anyone outside to realize what was going on. After I left university I moved to a new place and I applied for a job, and it was a job working in mental health with children and young people. And I was told that I was successful but as soon as they found out about my mental health they took the job away from me and I was never allowed to start, and I was devastated. Because I just thought, “Well what am I going to do? Who’s going to give me a job if someone like that won’t?” And actually in the end I did end up getting a new job as a healthcare support worker, but because of my experiences with the previous employer I decided I couldn’t risk disclosing my mental health at work. I now work for YoungMinds, which is the children and young people’s mental health charity, and the NHS, and it’s amazing to work for someone where I’m allowed to be open about my mental health and actually it’s seen as a strength and not a weakness. Well one thing my parents always told me is just do as much as you can, when you can. There’s no point pushing yourself to try and do everything when you’re too unwell, but it’s a good idea to try and structure things so you get more done when you feeling up for it. And apart from that I’d say, if you have a job and you’ve got a mental health problem, it’s totally up to you if you disclose that, but it can be really helpful to talk to your employer. They can make arrangements, make things easier for you, and they can give you extra support. And also if you do have a bad episode or you start feeling really bad, you can tell them about it and it doesn’t have to be a big surprise. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be completely okay, but I’m definitely a lot better than I was, and actually having a job has really helped that because it’s given me a lot more structure to my day, and also a lot more kind of self-worth and self-esteem because I feel like I’m contributing and I’m doing something important now. But it’s definitely been difficult and it doesn’t go away over night and it doesn’t always go away completely, but it can be manageable and you can get by and you can have a life. TheSite.org, your guide to the real world.

1 thought on “Kat | Mental health at work | The Mix

  1. From Kat's comments it is clear that different organizations even in the social service sector reacts differently to Kat's mental health condition. Clearly the stigma against mental illness not only exist in the general public but also in social service. It has a chain effect and results in people not wanting to declare their condition due to bad experiences from employers. Kat;s advices is that it is still good to be able to disclose her condition as stated the advantages are it will not be a surprise when employers find out about the truth and they can support her in the course of her work should there be a need to. Kat also have a supportive family like the good advice her mother gave her – not to force herself and she can do more only when she feels good and up for it. The truth is mental health condition will always be there and it does not really go away for people like Kat.

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