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"My whole life has changed after meeting the Employment Advisor from WWTW. I can now see that I have a bright future thanks to them. Being employed by a company that understands my mental health issues is really comforting. The regular supervision with my boss makes me even more convinced this is the right job for me and a job I can thrive in."
Carly joined the Army in June 2012. When the initial 14-16 weeks of basic training commenced Carly immediately began to experience symptoms of anxiety, feeling panicky. When the PT session came round Carly recollects standing in the ablutions in floods of tears brought on by the mere thought of the obstacle course. Carly was and is physically fit and describes herself as "more than able" in terms of fitness but it was her mental state of mind that was holding her back, Carly refers to these feelings now as "being unable to cope with a situation she could not get out of".
Eventually Carly was discharged from the Army in September 2013, just 15 months after joining. Carly continued to suffer unaware of her Mental Health needs and uncertain of what career path to take, this was demonstrated by the succession of jobs she took up following her discharge. In 2015 Carly suffered a breakdown and sought treatment through her GP who in turn referred her to the local CMHT also receiving support from Enable. Carly was off work sick for 12 months.
In August 2017 Carly met Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) Employment Adviser (EA) who Carly refers to as "brilliant from day one". Carly describes her Employment Advisor as friendly emphatic and approachable, her first meeting with him involved discussing her background and undertaking an assessment, Carly remembers telling him that she did not feel entitled to his support due to only having served for 15 months. Carly felt fully reassured by her Employment Advisor, who informed her that her length of service was irrelevant and helped her to accept she was eligible for support.
Carly had lost her job, during her initial assessment Carly's EA advised her of available benefits and encouraged Carly to think about her career path. Carly showed an interest in the Forestry Commission and with the assistance of her EA identified a relevant course named "Build a Bench". Carly enrolled onto the course and took up some volunteering in line with the course but soon determined this would involve extensive study,be extremely time consuming so not necessarily the right pathway for her. Carly was mindful that she wanted to remain close to her horse and two dogs, she felt these animals were her lifeline,
In January 2018 Carly began to once again experience feelings of anxiety and self doubt and suffered a further breakdown, Carly's EA encouraged her to go back to her doctor who once again put her in touch with her local CMHT this helped immensely, with regular therapy sessions and a change of medications Carly began to feel an uplift in her mood. Carly's EA encouraged her to go back to work, Carly spoke to her previous employer and went back to working for 5 hours at a local petrol station. Carly's EA advised her to take things steady, Carly remembers that for the first time in her life she actually took on board the advise given.
Carly's EA helped her to recognise her strengths, such as her caring nature and advised her to think about working in the adult services sector with a suggestion of becoming a job coach with a local supported Employment Service.
During April Carly's WWTW EA approached Enable, within Shropshire Council to see if there were job vacancies and if they would consider Carly for interview and they encouraged Carly's application. She promptly completed her application, securing an interview and successfully securing employment.
Carly kept her job at the petrol station as well as taking up the new role as the combined hours of employment were below the 16 hours permitted rule. Carly enjoyed the work and completed two training courses.
WWTW EA could see Carly's development and following further discussions with Carly once again approached Enable to request Carly's shadowing of an Employment Officer (EO), unfortunately this was not a possibility due to changes in personnel but they did say EO opportunities would be available shortly. It was agreed that Carly would be encouraged to apply when this opportunity came up, Carly was guaranteed an interview but not employment
Carly flourished at interview and was offered a full time position the day after. This news gave Carly a huge boost in confidence, she felt happy and felt a sense of security with the prospect of a regular wage that would enable her to plan for the future. Carly started this new role on the 1 August and is undertaking NCFE CACHE level 2 certificate in awareness of mental health problems, MHFA and then moving on to complete the NVQ in advice and guidance.
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