my name’s Chris Reid and I’m assistant director of operations for a Housing Association in the Northeast called Four Housing and I want to tell you a little bit about my journey and why I became involved with remploy.
I’ve always been a very physically active person, I’m very outdoorsy, I like a lot of sport I did a lot of running and a lot of climbing and high-altitude walking.
Unfortunately a couple of years ago I had quite a serious back injury now I’ve always been quite reliant on physical exercise to help me with my emotional health I have quite a high-pressure job and have for a number of years experienced quite severe bouts of insomnia so all that lovely physical exercise really helps me manage my experience was quite rapid and although I knew that I was becoming unwell I wasn’t really aware of the extent to which I’d become unwell and the kind of symptoms that I was experiencing and became quite severely anxious and quite severely depressed over a three-month period, and, although I took all the kind of steps that you would hope would help, including therapy medication, my descent into a severe depressive episode was quite rapid and around the November of that year I actually you know had a nervous breakdown and had to go and spend some time with relatives.
As my health started to improve I kept in touch and my employers they knew what was going on and I had some support from my employer so when it came to the point where I thought to I you know I’m a well enough to go back to work and his work indeed an option you know I was looking for an organization that could support me and to get back to work it was quite a specialist organisation.
I knew about her employer from work that we previously done in the organization around supporting people with mental health and that seemed a really obvious place to go to, and I got in touch with her employee did a self referral and, what happened from that is, very very quickly I was allocated somebody who worked alongside of me to develop a plan that would help support me and my employer get back into the workplace that plan was variable so there were lots of options in there and that wasn’t really something that was available outside of employ services, so what Claire, my worker, was able to do was offer the options and we had a discussion about each of those and then we put them into a plan and talked about talks about them to my employer who made some adjustments about start and finish times and availability for appointments as well equally I think it’s about having chemistry and being able to connect and get on with somebody that you’re working with and I found everybody in your employ that I’ve experienced so far has a real understanding of the issues around mental health but equally talk about it as if it’s normal and it’s something that happens every day and I think there’s somebody who has you know a high-pressure job and a high expectation of themselves it’s important to understand that what’s going on is actually normal it happens to lots of people but then you actually can get through it you can return to the workplace and it could be in fact effective in the workplace as well you