Created on 21 April 2021

Mel from Southend

Mel was working full time when she got made redundant in May 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic. She started to claim Universal Credit which was completely new to her and her Job Centre Work Coach suggested that HeadsUp might offer her extra support. Mel had been trying to get back to work with no luck and said, ‘what was stopping me was me’. She didn’t want to jump straight into a new job but to take some time to choose one that suited her and fit around her family requirements. Mel started to notice that her mental health and wellbeing were suffering but was thankful she had time to consider her next career step.

Mel reflected that she felt okay when she was first made redundant as she was kept busy with home schooling, doing home improvements, and had redundancy money to keep her going. However, she started to have up and down days and found the 3rd Lockdown particularly difficult. She thought HeadsUp might help her to see what direction to go in and help develop her confidence, Mel stated ‘I thought I’d just go for it’. She had no concerns when enrolling as she was looking forward to ‘Just getting more support, especially with interviews which I haven’t done in so long, I thought I was confident until I started to go through it all’.

During her time with HeadsUp Mel has been able to achieve most of the things she set out to do, most importantly developing her employability skills and growing in confidence. She still feels nervous about interviews, but this is because she will be having her first interview in 4 years, and she’s reassured that it’s completely normal to be nervous. Motivation levels still fluctuate but now the kids are back at school she feels focused and prepared for her upcoming interview.

Mel had previously avoided talking about her mental health but within the safe environment that HeadsUp provides she was able to open-up to her Peer Support Worker. It also gave her a chance to think and discuss what she wanted and didn’t want to do when it came to jobs.  She reflects ‘I’ve been able to consider my mental health and discuss it without feeling stupid, weak and useless’.

Her Peer Support Worker (PSW) made Mel feel like she was their top priority as they referred to her as their ‘Top person’! They built-up her confidence by reassuring Mel that she is ‘intelligent’ and ‘determined’, giving her the boost to realise she can do it. Mel was also supported by one of HeadsUp’s Development and Skills Officers (DSO) and found the specific work around Online Applications very helpful. Having someone to push and prompt on which areas to elaborate helped Mel to clearly describe her skillset whilst giving examples of their impact in the workplace. She found going through Interview preparation with her DSO, in particular learning the STAR technique very beneficial, as well as completing a mock interview which has helped her interview preparation. The process of being supported by a PSW and DSO led Mel to feeling much more confident about herself and have faith in her abilities.

This boost in confidence was noticed by Mel’s dad who had a keen eye for changes within her, she was animated in telling her family about the interview she had coming up. She is now applying for jobs she really wants, taking the time to choose what works for her. She took time to re-assess her priorities, putting her wellbeing and family at the top of her list, knowing that she wants a better work life balance. She is preparing for her first interview in 4 years and coming so far within the job application process has made her feel excited and hopeful.

Mel would definitely recommend HeadsUp, saying ‘Firstly, you’ve got nothing to lose and secondly, the DSO stuff really helped with the practical side of things as well as having support from a PSW to think about what you want to achieve and how you’re feeling, at least give it a go.’


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