Earlier this year, Vincent started work at Coles. His recruitment partner from Worklink, CoAct’s Service Partner, worked closely with him to find an employer that took time to understand his condition and shaped a role to fit his needs. We sat down with Vincent to find out more.
Tell us about the personal challenges you face with your health?
In the past my mental health caused issues at work. I would have trouble with my memory and concentration, get very anxious, and it was easier to use drugs than deal with the anxiety. Lack of confidence and self-esteem meant that I’d turn a small task into something major and overwhelming, and therefore not achieve.
I also learned that I can’t do too many hours a week as it creates anxiety, which leads to drug abuse, lack of motivation and tiredness.
Can you share some of your job and career goals, and why being employed is important to you?
I’ve started with Coles as trolley boy and, once I’m a bit more competent, I want to advance to night fill. Working gives me a sense of achievement, I don’t want to live a life of drugs and doing nothing. Long–term, I’d like to do a Certificate 1V in Mental Health and work for Mind Australia. I’d like to be a peer support worker to help people like me.
How has work helped you through the challenges you’ve faced.
Working has helped me to earn money and find a healthier happier life. I’m now enjoying a good work life balance, and no longer choose drugs as my first choice.
How supportive have your employer, manager and team been?
My new boss understands I have a mental health condition and is very supportive by not giving me too many hours. I can talk to my employer about all my mental health issues with no stigma or concern.
Is there a significant person that’s really helped you on your journey – someone you can trust and approach for advice?
The most important person in my life is my father. He’s been with me and supported me through my whole mental health journey. He’s someone I can be totally honest with and doesn’t judge me.
Worklink has also been a huge support for me – helping my employer understand my mental health condition.
Is there anything you can think of that would have made your journey to work easier?
If I’d chosen better people to be around, my life may not have gone the way it did for a while.
What would you say to someone who’s living with a mental illness and struggling to find work?
Be persistent, use your initiative and the resources out there. Seek help.
Paint a picture of your ideal boss.
I currently have a boss who’s ideal – friendly, gives good feedback, happy. I can talk to them with confidence about anything.
Why do you want to share your story?
To inspire others – the most important thing is to be persistent and don’t give up.
If you’ve living with a mental health condition and looking for work, we can help. Register for our DES program today.
If you’d like support with substance abuse, you might want to reach out to one of these organisations: