The healing power of work: Sharon’s employment journey

16 July 2018

The healing power of work: Sharon’s employment journey

Sharon was a successful career woman, with a long work history and a strong set of skills. After many months out of work Sharon found herself dealing with severe depression as she tried unsuccessfully to obtain work.

The continued rejection, combined with a range of escalating family issues, meant *Sharon’s mental health was at an all-time low. Fortunately she was in the care of a psychiatrist who recognised that Sharon could benefit from specialist help – and recommended she contact Cairns based CoAct service partner Worklink.

Worklink provides expert employment assistance, rehabilitation and training, specialising in helping people with mental health issues to regain their independence.

“Getting people back into work particularly after a long break is always difficult,” explains Worklink Employment Development Officer, Judy.

We need to build up the person’s confidence again. Work capacity, fear of going back into the workplace, fear of rejection or failure – all those barriers that people starting work face need to be addressed.

Dedicated, tailored employment support

Because she had never previously engaged with an employment services provider, Sharon had no idea what to expect.

“She cried when she knew the kind of support we could provide her – it was just what she needed – someone to listen, to validate her fears of returning to the workplace and be there for those job rejections (and there were a couple),” recalls Judy, who became Sharon’s dedicated consultant.

Before beginning the job search, Judy first worked with Sharon on building her confidence back up. Leveraging the organisation’s experienced mental health staff and learnings from across the CoAct network, Judy helped to unpack some of the issues preventing Sharon from re-joining the workforce.

Together, Sharon and Judy began looking for roles. Her confidence growing, Sharon even began proactively sourcing her own opportunities – she was determined to re-enter the workforce. Throughout the job search process, Judy delivered focused counselling to lift Sharon’s self-esteem and confidence, holding her hand through the rejections and working to prepare her for interviews.

Personalised job search mentoring for job seekers

After one unsuccessful job interview and several ‘thanks, but no thanks’ applications, Sharon was eventually successfully engaged on a temporary Government contract.

During the contract period, Judy kept up her support for Sharon, maintaining regular email and phone contact, and acting as a confidant when Sharon needed to discuss family issues that may have impacted on her work and ability to sustain employment.

Impressed with Sharon’s attitude and skillset, the employer extended her contract, and then offered her a permanent position.

Ongoing post-employment support

Ongoing support from a dedicated employment consultant had a major impact on Sharon’s employment journey. Alongside practical support like writing her resume, filling out applications and upskilling, Sharon believes the mentoring support she received is the reason for her success.

The healing power of work

The therapeutic value of work cannot be overstated, and Sharon’s case is the perfect example of this.

The right job can provide structure, purpose, and a sense of accomplishment, which can be beneficial for people with mental health issues. It can also provide social interaction, financial stability, and a distraction from negative thoughts or symptoms.

Additionally, it can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of identity and belonging.

Sharon’s psychiatrist was so impressed with her progress after a period of sustained employment that she was able to reduce her appointment frequency and manage her condition with the support of her GP.

Register with CoAct today to find out more about receiving one-on-one support with staff who listen to your needs, give you options to reach your goals and build your confidence and skills to help you on the road to success.

*Sharon’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.


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