Kerry is thriving with a new supportive employer
Without the support from Remploy and the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, Kerry Bennett from Cardiff, truly believes she wouldn’t be here today.
Two years ago Kerry was working as a senior nurse, when she experienced an acoustic trauma whilst wearing a headset.
A really loud noise came down the line and damaged the nerves in my balance system. Within a few days I had lost my balance causing vertigo and visual vertigo. I had reduced hearing, speech problems, memory loss, constant vomiting, severe tinnitus, insomnia, depression and PTSD.”
In addition to the physical symptoms, the trauma also caused her significant financial issues, which exacerbated her poor mental health.
"I couldn’t work and my income was reduced to a fifth of what it was. I became reliant on foodbanks, was unable to pay my bills or mortgage and was at risk of my house being repossessed. It was a real mess.”
Although her physical symptoms were slowly improving Kerry felt isolated and depressed. Her PTSD had caused her to become agoraphobic, which left her terrified of leaving the house.
Kerry 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 her in managing her mental health at work.
"I was in a really bad place mentally when I contacted Remploy. I had given up all hope of ever getting my life back and honestly didn’t want to be here anymore.”
Elise Hopkins, Remploy’s Vocational Rehabilitation Coach contacted Kerry for an initial meeting.
When I met with Elise I remember thinking she was like a breath of fresh. She was assertive, strong and caring with a mass of knowledge. One of the first things she said to me was ‘I’m here to help you, no matter how long it takes I’m here and we will get you well again.’ For the first time since my trauma I didn’t feel alone and I think that was when things started to change for me.”
In addition to the regular telephone contact and meetings, Kerry also started trauma counselling and made the decision she was unable to return to work and resigned. With support, Kerry updated her CV and placed it online.
"I knew I wanted a job that would make me feel proud and passionate. I didn’t expect to get much interest but was inundated with responses and I’m now working as a telephone triage nurse. I’ve gone from not being able to focus on work to learning a completely new role with all the protocols and procedures that go with it and I love it!”
Kerry has thrived at work with a new, supportive employer.
My employer has created such a proactive supportive work setting with a wonderful disability friendly environment that my mental health has improved immensely and I would say that it is almost back to my normal. I can honestly say Elise and Remploy saved my life and I can’t thank them enough. I feel very grateful.”
The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service is personalised and supports people with mental health issues that affect their work including depression and anxiety.