mask exemption (severe psychologcal distress)

keepcalm_carryon Forumite Posts: 5
First Post
edited 15 July 2020 at 7:27PM in Disability money matters
So basically i have recently found that wearing masks (along woth blood tests, hospitals and seeing the inside of an ambulance) actually triggers horrific flashbacks to my last suicide attempt (the mask brings back the experience of being in hospital and nearly dying). Ive been in touch with the mental health team and am currently waiting to be assessed by the CMHT/crisis team as they think i may have PTSD (on top of my bipolar and anxiety), i am being reffered for EDMR thearpy to hopefully address my trauma, and waitingto hear back about being assessed (theyre going to ring me this week..dont know if i should call them as im also now hypomanic atm). How do i go about getting an exemption?  I have one for the bus/tram as thats one you print off. Work have told me they need it in writing to cover themselves (i work in a shop-current policy is ppe is optional). Im terried of customers kicing off at me..cannot cope iwth that on top of all of this. Sorry if this desnt make sense ive not slept in 2 days and my anxiety and head is all over the place. I absolutely would wear a mask if i could but reliving the moment i almost died over and oveer again is getting traumatic and hard to deal with ive already had 2 panic attacks today cos of it) sorry for rambelling


  • elsien
    elsien Forumite Posts: 31,130
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 15 July 2020 at 7:41PM
    The ongoing policy for shop workers it that PPE is optional. From the guidance
    "It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, although employers should consider recommending their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place. For example, there will be times when screens or visors are in use, or when a staff member is not in close proximity to people they do not normally meet, and so wearing a covering for staff will not be necessary. Employers should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees."

    So are these other factors in place? If it reassures you and customers, would you be be able to tolerate wearing a visor instead which is potentially less triggering for you but also shows customers you are doing something. 
    This sort of thing?

    However if you've got customers kicking off at you I'd expect your bosses to stepping up and chucking them out. You do not have to put up with being verbally abused at work. And asking for it in writing when it's not an obligation for a shop worker anyway is them being particularly unhelpful. Are you in a union at all? 

    The government has not yet put in place any mechanism for identifying people who don't need to wear a mask alhough they will have to do so before the 24th so keep an eye on the guidance. In the meantime are there any mental health professionals or your GP who might be willing to put something in writing. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Forumite Posts: 6,781
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited 15 July 2020 at 8:40PM
    There is nothing official because they can't give any exact criteria. You could search for different types of cards to see if there's anything that suits you - e.g. there's the sunflower scheme for hidden disabilities, or there might be something on sites like Mind or Scope (I don't know, maybe. Perhaps Google 'mask exemption card mental health'. Stickman Communications has a card which might be seen as lighthearted, which some people like because the stickmen can diffuse tension in awkward situations.

    As for your employer I would hope just a letter should do, from any professional involved with your care.

    I'd also just like to say thank you for having *tried* to wear a mask.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Forumite Posts: 45,442
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I really would consider joining a union, if not already a member. Their support might be very helpful if it does become an issue (although I hope it doesn't for you). 
    Signature removed for peace of mind
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