Charlotte was working for a garden furniture company as a Customer Service Manager where she managed 5 people and had 3 wage increases due to her exceptional work. Around March 2019, Charlotte went home sick for a week and then Covid hit and everyone had to work from home. She continued to work from home but found herself not going out of the house at all. Her employer had planned for all staff to return to work in the offices by end of May 2021 but Charlotte began to feel fear and anxiety at the thought of even leaving her house, let alone go into work. She wasn’t sleeping and started to feel tired and depressed. Her family and friends noticed a change in her usual chatty self and that she wasn’t going out at all.
Charlotte discussed how she was feeling with her employer and was put on reduced hours. Unfortunately, after some time she still wasn’t sleeping and wasn’t able to do her job. She applied for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) due to her suffering with anxiety and depression and has been on long term sick since. Sadly, Charlotte’s sister passed away last June from an asthma attack which sent her ‘anxiety through the roof’
Through a Local Authority referral, Charlotte was having therapy sessions with ‘Therapy for you’ to help with her anxiety and depression and found this very helpful. During her time being at home, Charlotte hadn’t tried to look for work, training or courses and felt like both she and her home had become a mess. Her son had been helping to pay bills, but they couldn’t afford internet so it was disconnected. She felt her life was ‘spiraling out of control’ and could see it was affecting her children. Charlotte knew she needed to ‘return to work, to get her out of her mind set and to feel useful again’. Charlotte’s therapy was coming to an end, and she explained that she felt ready to get back into work but didn’t know where or how to start looking for another job which is when her therapist signposted her to HeadsUp.
Starting with HeadsUp
After her first meeting with her Peer Support Worker (PSW) Charlotte felt brilliant for the first time in ages. ‘I was able to be myself with my PSW and explain exactly how I felt’ After discussing job ideas and how to change her career path by exploring the National Careers Service her PSW introduced her to one of the Development and Skills Officer (DSO). Charlotte said, she ‘had no worries about joining HeadsUp as I knew they would have lots of advice on hand and would work at my pace’
Developing Practical Job Seeking Skills
The DSO went through a plan of what Charlotte would like to achieve and set up appointments/meetings to help go through her CV, interview techniques, job application forms and to look through Charlottes different transferable skills. Just by having a few of these telephone appointments, she felt so much more motivated, confident, and able to cope, that she even applied for a job! The interview didn’t go too well, as Charlotte had only been out of the house twice before so felt anxious. But Charlotte wanted that experience and felt it was an achievement in itself, as she has felt ‘so low for quite some time’
A new confidence
During her time with HeadsUp, Charlotte has said ‘they have helped me to achieve self-belief, self-worth by the telephone support and encouragement. I really looked forward to our phone calls. They have shown me how to search for jobs and I now have the confidence to apply and attend a job interview on my own and I now have the confidence to know that I’m not too old to change my career! I was really good at my customer service job and now I know how to transfer my skills into other job roles‘.
Charlotte is now volunteering at her local foodbank as she likes being around people and finds this helps with her anxiety to get her out of the house. She says that she has ‘lots of motivation and feels worthy’ she said ‘knowing HeadsUp had faith in me, has helped me to apply for Level 2 course as I feel a hunger and thirst to learn as well as look for work.’ Charlottes friends and family have also noticed the difference in her mental health, as she is laughing and being more organised at home again.
Charlotte said ‘Looking back, I’ve gone from being house bound, to going out and about and being with people. I’m very proud of what I have achieved. I would thousand percent recommend anyone to use the HeadsUp service’