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Alex learns to manage his anxiety in work

18 Feb 2020

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Two years ago, Alex Riley was working as an Administrator at a university when he began experiencing depression and anxiety, resulting in him self-harming and having suicidal thoughts. 

Despite performing well in work Alex, 32 and from Leeds, could not sustain employment. He said,

I would apply for the same types of role and would burn out six or seven months down the line. I felt useless. My mental and physical health was at rock bottom and my insights into my own workplace triggers were non-existent as an autistic man.” 

Alex self-referred to the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, a confidential service delivered by Remploy and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, to support him in managing his mental health at work.

Alex took an extended leave of absence from work, so he could manage his self-harming and get the medical help he needed. It was during this time that Alex realised he couldn’t return to his role. 

With the support of Liam Gant, his Vocational Rehabilitation Coach, Alex developed a wellness recovery action plan and accessed mindfulness resources that included breathing and relaxation exercises.

Having regular telephone and ad-hoc face-to-face reviews with Liam helped raise Alex’s awareness of what his workplace triggers were. He realised he needed a role in an environment more suited to his skillset and successfully secured an Informatics Administration Officer position with Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS. 

I’ve started to value myself as a person but also value the unique contribution I can make to the workplace. Being in work means more to me than anything. I’m now safe, healthy and secure in work. I’ve gone from just ‘coping’ in work to being my most confident and best self. I am beyond grateful to Remploy for helping me on my journey.”

Alex is currently training to be an IT Manager, is a Wellbeing Champion and completed Remploy’s Mental Health First Aid training.  

Liam said, “Working with Alex was a pleasure. His dedication towards improving his own wellbeing was inspiring and witnessing the progress he made in regards to understanding his mental health and learning how to cope and manage more effectively made this journey extremely rewarding. 

“I was delighted to learn that following our support, Alex is now training to be an IT manager, along with supporting colleagues in work in regards to their own mental health. I wish Alex every success in the future, he deserves it.”

Remploy’s Access to Work Mental Health Support Service is personalised and supports people with mental health issues that affect their work including depression and anxiety. 

For further information visit our Access to Work Mental Health Support Service page or contact us.