World Mental Health Day – The role of work and mental health: what can a job do?

10 October 2018

WMHD

Studies have shown that depression and anxiety are 4-10 times more prevalent among people who have been unemployed for more than 12 weeks. At Reed in Partnership we have been supporting people with mental health barriers into work for twenty years, and we see first-hand the positive impact that having a job has on our participants every day.

In the run up to World Mental Health Day, Rugby League legends Phil Vievers and Danny Sculthorpe joined a group of jobseekers using our Better Working Futures - Work and Health Programme - service. They were there to raise awareness of men's mental health. Both Danny and Phil have played at the highest level of Rugby League, playing over 500 top level games between them.

Phil and Danny have both suffered from mental illness in the past caused by a variety of factors including dismissal, injury and the suicide of their friend and fellow professional Terry Newton. Both spoke at our Doncaster office about their own journey into and out of depression.

Participants were able to discuss the signs of entering depression and share tips to help come out of depression. The talk included a 'Mental Health Workout' and had the opportunity to assess others states of mind. The main message throughout was: "It's ok to talk!"

New opportunities

When Kira signed up to our Youth Employment Skills (YES) service at a local job fair it was the first time in two months that she had left the house. She suffered with severe social anxiety and had been on medication for bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. Kira had lost her job in hospitality and was unable to take care of her children after her mental health took a turn for the worse. Working together, Kira and her Employment Adviser worked together and she was then offered her role as a Support Worker providing care for people in their homes.  After six months at her new job she is no longer on medication for her mental health.

She said: "I can actually leave the house on my own and hold down a job. I am mentally, physically and also financially better off. I love what I do now and I look forward to work every day."

How much a job can help, according to jobseekers we have helped into work:

"I can finally enjoy life. My life has changed so much!" Eric, London

"I have now got a job that couldn't be any better for my family life and commitments. I feel stronger in myself and it has given me the hope that I so badly needed." - Helen, Falmouth

"There have been times where I felt like I was letting everyone down, particularly my three children. I can be a better father and my life is continuing to change." - Adam, Peterborough

"Your service gave me the confidence I was lacking of purpose to my life. From where I was to where I am today… I can't find the right words. My life is so different!" - Dean, London

On this World Mental Health Day, the power of having a job you enjoy should be celebrated.

Do you need help with your jobsearch and getting back to work? Click here for our support services around the country.

Our YES service is available to jobseekers in London aged 18-24. Visit yesldn.org for more information