Our Workplace Mental Health Support Service – Joanna’s story
Joanna, a teacher at a large school in the Midlands, explains how Remploy’s Workplace Mental Health Support Service, delivered in partnership with Access to Work, supported her to stay in, and thrive in work.*
“I am a teacher in a large and busy school. I have always loved my job and had previously thrived on the ‘busyness’; of the work with targets, planning and deadlines and the sense that the job was never done, however hard I tried.
I struggle with being a perfectionist and so was extremely frustrated when I began to notice increasingly overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s really difficult in teaching, to draw a line under work and maintain a healthy work life balance. I wasn’t sleeping well, was having anxiety attacks and becoming fearful in everyday situations.
I used to hate the idea of asking for or needing help but with young children and an important job, there came a point where I began to feel that I shouldn’t have to just find a way to cope without asking for support.
I was told about Remploy by Access to Work following a query about support for stress and anxiety and very quickly I was contacted by Gill, a Remploy advisor. To have a friendly sympathetic voice at the other end of the phone was such a huge relief and she made me feel at ease immediately and that it was very normal to be feeling the way I was.
Gill gave me practical ideas and targets for sorting issues out with work and made me feel that what I was needing and asking for was perfectly reasonable. She empowered me and I stopped feeling scared.
Gill supported me all the way, maintaining regular contact and encouraging me by being specific in her feedback about my achievements and how I had done this myself. Initially, I would look forward to each fortnightly call but by the end of the six months, I began to forget that we had arranged to speak – a sign that I was really managing independently again.
As a result, I have learned to trust myself and remember that meeting my needs are the most important thing; to use my voice more, both in public and on a one-to-one basis; and to value the present moment, to breathe and be calm and trust that everything will work out, no matter how hard a struggle it may feel at the time.”
About the Workplace Mental Health Support Service
Remploy’s Workplace Mental Health Support Service, delivered in partnership with Access to Work, offers free and confidential support to anyone with a mental health condition who is absent from work or finding work difficult. To date, we have supported over 10,000 people on the service.
* Names changed to protect anonymity.