Created on 19 October 2022

Christopher from Hatfield Peverel

I was a lecturer and a course team leader in higher education. I had been working there for 15 years and due to increased hours of work, I had no life outside. In February 2022 I left my job as I was suffering with severe depression and had had a mental break down. By June ‘21 my employer eventually had an occupational health report done but they didn’t follow the recommendations. I carried on working hoping that the routine would help, but it did the opposite.

By November it was obvious nothing was going to change apart from being told ‘phone the crisis line and contact your GP’. I knew that if I stayed in my job, and with rising scores on IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service) my state of mental health would deteriorate. Whilst I was signed off sick, my employer didn’t do anything for me, and I felt let down. My workplace had caused my mental health to deteriorate further.

Not in a good place

My friends could see that I wasn’t in a good place, but I still applied for new jobs and even had a few interviews. On the one hand, I felt that I had to work as I needed an income and something to keep me going, but on the other hand not being in work gave me a break to get myself together.

(Health in Mind (IAPT) referred me to Mind, who directed me to the HeadsUp project for employment support. I was looking forward to HeadsUp and trying something new. After a chat with my Peer Support Worker (PSW) about the program, it was clear that they were good at chatting to me about my mental health and wellbeing.

Feeling more confident

They helped me think about different ways of coping and offered to provide me with support for the possible forthcoming work tribunal case. I was also quickly introduced to my Development and Skills Officer (DSO) as I wanted to get my CV checked over. They supported me with online applications, job searching and interview techniques. The sessions were very helpful, and I still use the websites suggested to look for work. Working with my DSO made me feel more confident.

During my time on the HeadsUp program, I have completed lots of courses in cyber security and got relevant certifications. If it weren’t for HeadsUp and their support, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to do this. I am not working yet, but I am going to be enrolling on another in person high level Cyber Security course, which I’m looking forward to doing.

Recommend HeadsUp

I worked with 2 PSW’s who were both excellent, and my DSO was incredibly good. The joined-up support from everyone made the system work well and
I would recommend HeadsUp to anyone in my position.


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