Sharon* was a successful career woman, with a long work history and a strong set of skills. A series of events found Sharon out of work and dealing with severe depression. For many months, Sharon 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. While she was already in the care of a psychiatrist, this practitioner recognised that Sharon could benefit from specialist help – and recommended she contact Worklink.
Worklink is a Cairns-based organisation that provides expert employment assistance, rehabilitation and training. A CoAct Service Partner, Worklink specialises 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 support tailored to individual needs
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.
The light at the end of the tunnel
After one unsuccessful job interview and several ‘thanks, but no thanks’ applications, Sharon was 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.
Sharon’s psychiatrist was also impressed with her progress and after a period of sustained employment, Sharon was able to reduce her appointment frequency and manage her condition with the support of her GP.
The importance of ongoing support from a dedicated employment consultant can’t be understated. In Sharon’s case, it wasn’t practical support like writing resumes and applications or upskilling that led to her success, it was the psychological support provided by her consultant. The therapeutic value of work cannot be overstated, and Sharon’s case is the perfect example of this.
Want to find work? You’ve come to the right place.
When you register with CoAct, our dedicated local team invests in you from the start. You’ll get 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 your road to success.
*Name has been changed to protect client’s privacy