How to gain employment when you suffer with mental health

When you suffer from a mental health problem it can be really hard to find or hold down a job. You have the issue of whether hiding the issue from potential employers is worth the risk. The stigma around mental health is still very present, there has been a massive incline in the amount of publicity it has received recently due to BBC mind over marathon and Prince Harry’s recent disclosure on his struggles with his mothers death. 

As I embark on my risk taking adventure of redundancy, I have gained some useful skills and insights into how to refresh the CV, volunteering and useful tips people don’t think about. 

Being unemployed can be daunting, I have never experienced it before, I’ve worked since I was 15. So I’m preparing myself in the best possible way of what’s about to come. I know keeping a routine is so important, it’s good for your mental health, gives you purpose to wake up and most importantly prepares you for any work you might do in the future. Being lazy in bed is for the weekends, evenings or free time, don’t make it a habit, I know we all lay there thinking it would be a great job, but just think of the competition. 

Whether you ease yourself in with some volunteering or apply for part-time/full-time work straight away, getting back into doing something you enjoy really can make you feel better. If you feel you don’t have the skills there are some great places that can help you out:

  1. Get onto some courses, or refresh your skills and knowledge. Down South where I’m from, there is a NHS organisation called the Recovery College who offer courses and training in a wide range of skills. It’s free for anyone who has accessed a mental health service in the last 2 years or if your unemployed. 
  2. Another place that offers great courses are Southampton Healthy Living again an NHS service run by Solent NHS Trust, these courses are free for anyone in a volunteering role. They have a range of health improvement and behaviour change training for anyone working in Southampton.

I mentioned before about volunteering and this really is a great way to get some experience. You can choose the hours that suits you, meet new people who can help you grow and come home knowing you have done something great for the community. I am a Prince’s Trust volunteer mentor and I help young people into education or employment. I haven’t done it in a while due to not having the time but it’s something I plan on getting back into when I leave work. I really enjoyed meeting new people and knowing I’m helping them achieve something. It also gave me some hands on experience in working with young people which will really benefit me when applying for jobs. 

If you really think work isn’t for you right now, I would strongly recommend this route. You already know when your at your best during the day, so base the hours around that. Take one day at a time and you don’t need to be worried about a long term commitment. It’s doing something good to get something greater. 

If all else fails, sign up to the Prince’s Trust programmes, they offer some great opportunities that will boost your confidence, self-esteem and employment prospects. Check out their website for further info. I know they do a “Get into Health” or “Get into Retail” type programmes which offer work experience as part of it which can be great for your CV. 

There is so much out there for you to do and gain as part of your CV. Small steps can lead to such great things. Research, connect and have faith in yourself. 


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