Helen’s story — mental health and employment
‘I had worked for the bank for 28 years when I started having some issues with my mental health. I was on long-term stress-related sick leave when I was referred to Leonard Cheshire Disability by the Bank Workers Charity (BWC).
‘Every month I had a mentoring telephone call from my advisor. It was important to have continuity and gain rapport and trust. I had a listening ear service — it was like counselling only more practical. My Leonard Cheshire mentor Kim supported me with my employment situation. Over the months I gained encouragement and grew in confidence.
‘I did seek support from the GP, BWC, Leonard Cheshire, Bupa, private counselling and even legal representation via my home insurance policy. My friends and family were around in my very dark days too.
‘It helped having a CV written and then attending job interviews as I was initially so blinkered about leaving my employer. Kim helped me acknowledge that I was a worthy person and had many transferrable skills.
‘My life has changed for the better. I am no longer consumed by bitterness and anger. My past ordeal at work is behind me. I work where I am valued and can see that reducing my hours and being mentally well is so important. Not having stress in my working life obviously makes me a more peaceful and calm person. I start work later and have Fridays off so I can care for my 3 year old niece.
‘Optimistic about the future! That’s how I feel. I have re-joined weight-watchers on my own. Just lost over a stone and my face is thinner. I like who I see when I look in the mirror, not just on the outside, but on the inside too. I don’t feel ashamed when bumping into old colleagues. I did nothing wrong, I just got ill. My plan is to take each day as it comes.
‘My advice for others is: take help from every available source. Talking and listening is just as effective as medication.’
We work in partnership with BWC to improve the lives of current and former bank workers by providing information and guidance, as well as helping them access financial support. BWC funded the service we delivered to Helen.
Our service is tailored to your needs and provides you with personalised information and advice or mentoring support. If you work or have worked for a bank, get in touch to find out how we can help you or your family.