When you meet someone for the first time, chances are you’ll ask them this question: ‘what do you do?’ Work identity is a hugely important, and often downplayed, ingredient in our overall well-being – especially for someone who has experienced a mental health condition and is in the process of getting their life back on track.
When we first met Allen, just three months ago, he was withdrawn and spent most of his time at home in a council flat he’d lived in for the past 23 years. Today, he’s a new person and living proof of how powerful the right employment and support can be in changing someone’s life.
From ‘shut in’ to ‘stand out’ in just a few months
Allen is in his early 50s and was unemployed for the better part of the last five years. He used to work in mental health peer support and is a very smart man. He also has autism spectrum disorder and complex PTSD, as well as a lived experience of drug, alcohol and food addiction.
Allen started working with One Good* Day Recovery Coach and has since gained the confidence to communicate his needs clearly, enroll in a Certificate IV for in mental health peer support and even get a new job in that field.
It’s not just a ‘job’ – it’s about purpose and meaning
Having the right job isn’t just about financial independence, although that’s a big part of it. Allen found a job that he’s passionate about, one where he’s in service to others, and this gives him a reason to get out of bed in the morning. As a peer support worker, Allen also has the opportunity to acknowledge his own recovery while, at the same time, supporting someone else on their own.
Unfortunately, there are many factors that may prevent someone with a lived experience of mental illness from applying for employment, such as:
- Access, some people have accessibility problems as soon as they need to leave the house.
- Confidence, as getting back into the job market can be tough! Many mainstream job support agencies wouldn’t be right for Allen, so having a Recovery Coach provide support to see it through is invaluable.
- Stigma, particularly having to explain a gap in their resume, which may stop someone applying for a job they’re more than qualified for.
- Work related trauma, and the fears associated with it happening again.
Gratitude is a game changer
One of the practices Allen resisted at first but now does every single day is show gratitude. When we started working with him, he couldn’t find more than one thing to be grateful for (some days even that was difficult).
For context, the clients we often work with feel completely isolated or disconnected from their community. So having a Recovery Coach show up consistently for them (and have an active interest in their life) might be the first sign of support they’ve received in a long time.
All credit goes to Allen here – his determination, grit and commitment to improving his quality of life is what has seen him experience such amazing progress in just a few short months. While it’s still early days, Allen is on track to continue on a more positive and hopeful path towards living life on his terms.
One Good* Day can bridge the gap
Rebuilding your life after coming out of an intense experience can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the right support. We get it – you’re a different person now and deserve the opportunity to create the life you want. Our Recovery Coaches can be your sounding board, cheer squad and friend, all rolled into one. So if you have an NDIS plan with Recovering Coaching including, give our team a call on 1300 146 631.