A 41-year-old software technician from Newcastle Upon Tyne, who acquired a life-threatening brain injury resulting from a car accident more than 20 years ago, has benefited from a free mental health support service which has helped him stay in the job he enjoys. Nic Griffiths was not expected to survive, but he was eventually discharged from hospital with a range of physical and mental scars that remain with him today.
"I've spent many years learning to live with the effects of my brain injury, but they never go away completely," he said. "There are times when this has been extremely difficult, for me and for those around me, and I have experienced constant challenges."
Nic works as a report designer with software specialists Sage. "However, I found it difficult to accept the consequences of my injuries and the anger would build up in me. Alongside this, I experienced intrusive thoughts and they led to me having a mental breakdown."
Nic was determined not to lose his career and sought support from Remploy's disability employment specialists. Remploy operates the free and confidential Workplace Mental Health Support Service as part of the Government's Access to Work programme.
"My Remploy advisor offered invaluable support," he said. "She understood the effects of my injury and she helped me build a plan of what I could and couldn't do. Seeing all this written down forced me to confront reality and, whilst it certainly wasn't comfortable, it gave me some direction."
Remploy also helps employers so that they, too, can support colleagues who already have or are developing a mental health condition. Trained advisors provide focused support tailored to the needs of individual users and their employers. Users are encouraged to identify appropriate coping strategies, creating personal plans so that they can stay in their jobs.
"The service helped us all understand how to support Nic and ensure he had the best opportunity to return to work," said Sage HR business partner Emma Armstrong. "Most importantly, Clare provided us with an understanding of the part we could and should play. It has given us confidence to know we can support Nic and other colleagues in the future."
Employers and individuals can find out more about Access to Work by contacting Remploy on 0300 456 8114 or Vocationalrehabilitation@remploy.co.uk.
Watch Nic tell his own story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSr54vxP_W4