For the first time in over a decade, Moss Vale local Christine has been offered paid work that she is hoping will progress to permanent employment.
When Christine approached her local atWork Australia office in 2017, she was experiencing anxiety so severe that she had been unable to work for 14 years.
Not only was Christine unemployed, but often her anxious thoughts prevented her from even leaving her home. In so many ways, her condition was affecting her ability to function normally in the world.
As a provider of specialist support to people with mental health conditions, atWork Australia welcomes people like Christine and understands that, in most cases of mental health conditions, work is good for the person.
At first, Christine’s mental illness stopped her from participating in regular appointments with her dedicated and passionate Job Coach, Kristy. In the first few months, Christine would often phone Kristy in tears to say she could not attend or alternatively she would turn up shaking uncontrollably.
Kristy worked on strategies for easing Christine’s anxiety. Together they have spent many sessions discussing methods to overcome her negative thoughts.
Not unusually, their journey involved some setbacks, with Christine often wondering why anyone would employ her. But Kristy remained positive and found that listening to Christine’s concerns was often beneficial. So too was spent time building up her self-esteem and highlighting the opportunities available to her.
When Christine felt ready, Kristy prepared a personalised job plan for her, working at a pace that she felt comfortable with.
In May, Christine was “ecstatic” to learn she had been offered a two-week paid work trial as a caretaker for a local B&B establishment.
“Christine’s journey with atWork Australia has been a long and somewhat overwhelming experience for her from being in a place where she would very rarely leave home to attending fortnightly appointments with me,” Kristy said.
Christine is enormously grateful for the support from Kirsty. “I’m so thankful to her for being so kind and understanding,” she said.