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  • FIRST POST
    • Scared55
    • By Scared55 11th Jan 19, 3:04 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Scared55
    Work related mental health issues
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 19, 3:04 PM
    Work related mental health issues 11th Jan 19 at 3:04 PM
    Hi all
    I am after some advice please. Please be gentle as Its taken me some time to pluck up the courage to ask you all for your thoughts.
    Unfortunately my mental health is badly suffering in my current job (been there 10 years), to the extent that the doctors have prescribed medication and have signed me off long term sick with depression/anxiety. i won't go into too much detail except to say that it is all work related.
    The sensible part of me knows that I cannot stay in my current role as the requirements of the job have impacted me negatively, but I still need to earn a living somehow. But the thoughts of what I can do moving forwards (if I do leave) is leaving me very scared and frightened.
    I know that there are some of you that have taken the step to leave a job that is causing you health issues, but I'd like to know how successful were you in finding a new role. My big concern is my age (55) will go against me and its a fair few years till the state pension kicks in
    Thanks in advance for any advice you are able to offer.
Page 1
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 19, 3:09 PM
    • 7,672 Posts
    • 8,283 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 19, 3:09 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 19, 3:09 PM
    Hi all
    I am after some advice please. Please be gentle as Its taken me some time to pluck up the courage to ask you all for your thoughts.
    Unfortunately my mental health is badly suffering in my current job (been there 10 years), to the extent that the doctors have prescribed medication and have signed me off long term sick with depression/anxiety. i won't go into too much detail except to say that it is all work related.
    The sensible part of me knows that I cannot stay in my current role as the requirements of the job have impacted me negatively, but I still need to earn a living somehow. But the thoughts of what I can do moving forwards (if I do leave) is leaving me very scared and frightened.
    I know that there are some of you that have taken the step to leave a job that is causing you health issues, but I'd like to know how successful were you in finding a new role. My big concern is my age (55) will go against me and its a fair few years till the state pension kicks in
    Thanks in advance for any advice you are able to offer.
    Originally posted by Scared55

    The simple answer is that eventually you will leave, voluntarily or otherwise.


    So instead of worrying about it, look into alternative careers / training
    • eamon
    • By eamon 11th Jan 19, 4:17 PM
    • 1,733 Posts
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    eamon
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 19, 4:17 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 19, 4:17 PM
    Having work place stress & depression can be a dreadful and debilitating place to be and well done for going to your GP for help. Hopefully you are part of a large organisation. Find out if they have any employee wellbeing services. It can be a fast track access route to mental health services e.g. counselling. Are you in a trade union? ask them as well.

    Try not to worry too much about your finances just now, concentrate all your efforts on getting well.
    • Crazy Jamie
    • By Crazy Jamie 11th Jan 19, 6:14 PM
    • 2,173 Posts
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    Crazy Jamie
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 19, 6:14 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 19, 6:14 PM
    The fact that you have realised that you can't stay in your current role is a positive, as plenty of people in your position fail to acknowledge that. However, whilst it is entirely natural to worry about the financial aspect, the reality is that concentrating on that is just going to pile more worry on you. Your focus must be on getting better. Your GP will hopefully be able to provide some guidance on that, but given that this is work related the obvious major step to take is to find alternative work. If you can do that whilst still employed all the better, but either way an obvious first step is to start the process of looking for another job.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
    • applebite
    • By applebite 11th Jan 19, 6:38 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    applebite
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 19, 6:38 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 19, 6:38 PM
    Are you able to access occupational health and see if they are able to assist and assess whether there would be other positions within the company that would be more suitable?
    • Scared55
    • By Scared55 12th Jan 19, 2:56 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Scared55
    • #6
    • 12th Jan 19, 2:56 PM
    Thank you
    • #6
    • 12th Jan 19, 2:56 PM
    Many thanks for your replies
    Although I work for a large company I am not in a trade union and the company do not recognise them or have anything to do with them.
    My doctor has asked me if I am in the right job which after some soul searching I have had to admit they were right and the job is now not for me.
    As a longtime lurker on this forum (under a different name, so company will not recognise me if they read this) I have been cutting back etc to see where finances can be helped. It also gives me something to concentrate on.
    I don't feel up to looking for a new role just yet, so will ensure I take note of doctors advice and see what counselling et. I can access
    Once again thank you for your time and responses
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 12th Jan 19, 3:31 PM
    • 3,939 Posts
    • 3,519 Thanks
    Undervalued
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 19, 3:31 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 19, 3:31 PM
    Many thanks for your replies
    Although I work for a large company I am not in a trade union and the company do not recognise them or have anything to do with them.

    My doctor has asked me if I am in the right job which after some soul searching I have had to admit they were right and the job is now not for me.
    Originally posted by Scared55
    That doesn't stop you from joining a union although they will not generally help with employment issues that started before you join.

    If you have decided to look for alternative work it may be wise to be in a union in case you need their support further down the line.

    These situations are not easy and it is a balancing act between the stresses your current job causes compared with the realistic alternatives.

    Whilst the doctor is no doubt right to question if you are in the right job, he of course moves on to his next patient without having to find you an alternative one that will be more suitable!

    Are you financially able to take something far less stressful, presumably lower paid, at least for a while?

    Generally it is better to stay occupied, even if there isn't a financial necessity, than to be off sick long term. Early retired is great, if it is a possibility, but only with something structured and satisfying to do.

    All easier said than done I'm afraid.

    All the best....
    • elsien
    • By elsien 12th Jan 19, 3:38 PM
    • 18,561 Posts
    • 47,121 Thanks
    elsien
    • #8
    • 12th Jan 19, 3:38 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Jan 19, 3:38 PM
    Firstly, don't be pushed into resigning.

    I was in your situation a number of years ago. I stayed within the company but moved to a different role. All worked out in the end. Although that does depend on whether it's the job role or some other factor which is the issue.
    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.
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 12th Jan 19, 3:41 PM
    • 1,327 Posts
    • 2,443 Thanks
    Sea Shell
    • #9
    • 12th Jan 19, 3:41 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Jan 19, 3:41 PM
    Do companies have a duty to make "reasonable adjustments" for you in the same way as if you'd suffered a physical disability? Eg, agree to change your role / move departments to alleviate stress?
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow "
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 12th Jan 19, 4:07 PM
    • 3,939 Posts
    • 3,519 Thanks
    Undervalued
    Do companies have a duty to make "reasonable adjustments" for you in the same way as if you'd suffered a physical disability? Eg, agree to change your role / move departments to alleviate stress?
    Originally posted by Sea Shell
    Only if the OP's condition counts as a disability.

    Under some circumstances the condition described could cross the threshold but generally not. It would be a close call and sadly the debate about that, if the firm were difficult, could be a further cause of stress.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 12th Jan 19, 4:57 PM
    • 2,173 Posts
    • 2,552 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    I resigned last year due to work related stress. It was the best decision, I'm now in a job I enjoy with nice people.
    Spend some time getting your cv in order and start looking. Taking steps to address the situation felt quite empowering for me. It was quite exciting to know I could be out of there soon.
    Given many people are now having to work into their late sixties you are not old at all. Just ensure you have the skills required to keep up (whatever that may be). The sooner you take action the better you will feel. I do understand that stress and depression from work can knock your confidence but remember it's not always because you have done something. It might be you have had unreasonable expectations placed on you or you are the victim of bullying. Think back to all your successes inside and outside of work. You are still that person. Don't doubt yourself because of this tough period, you can come out the other side.
    • Scared55
    • By Scared55 13th Jan 19, 12:51 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Scared55
    many thanks again for your replies
    Its given me lots of food for thought
    • Les79
    • By Les79 13th Jan 19, 6:20 PM
    • 1,047 Posts
    • 1,204 Thanks
    Les79
    Many thanks for your replies
    Although I work for a large company I am not in a trade union and the company do not recognise them or have anything to do with them.
    Originally posted by Scared55



    I suspect that when they say that it is merely to actively discourage unionisation.


    There is absolutely nothing stopping you from joining a union related to your sector, as unions generally help EVERYONE who works in certain sectors. If you google "union + [your sector]" it should come up with one. Just costs a few quid a month...


    I joined one when working in a previous min wage job, but primarily because they initially refused to pay me company (or statuary) sick pay because the doctor had ticked the "may be fit for work" box + they hadn't offered me a meeting to discuss it = reverts to "not fit for work". The plebs admitted that they had only read the fit note AFTER I HAD RETURNED TO WORK! I can take a lot of rubbish in work, but not anything which is related to my money. They thankfully sorted it but not until I threatened them with a solicitor (though in truth I rung two no-win-no-fee solicitors up and they both didn't want to pick it up!).


    In truth, I joined more for the advice they could give in situations which may be like yours. I don't know if, given my ex employer didn't officially recognise it, I could have asked the rep to attend a disciplinary with me but I assume so (with a lot of hassle attached to it).


    There's nothing stopping you from calling or emailing a union which is related to your field. As others have said, they may not help you because you aren't a paying member (somewhat undermines the likes of me who DOES pay) but they may actually give you some advice! A lot of union reps seem to be a bit more selfless than your average person and may be willing to help.


    Certainly consider joining one in the future though...


    My doctor has asked me if I am in the right job which after some soul searching I have had to admit they were right and the job is now not for me.
    Start planning your exit then. What are your interests? Got any specialised skills? Got any capital (money)? Potentially one thing you could do is start up your own business, like a caf! or something but you'd have to put in some hard graft to be fair (there may be funding schemes too if you can submit a business proposal etc).


    Ultimately, I would just milk this place for as much as you can and get some sort of exit strategy planned out. Maybe even try and find a local service/charity which gives job tips (the job centre is one such place).


    I would also finally have a think about the manner of your exit and the impact that might have on a claim for benefits. Ideally, you want it such that you aren't penalised.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 13th Jan 19, 7:04 PM
    • 39,582 Posts
    • 36,730 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    I suspect that when they say that it is merely to actively discourage unionisation.
    Originally posted by Les79
    I agree. As Les says,

    There is absolutely nothing stopping you from joining a union related to your sector, as unions generally help EVERYONE who works in certain sectors. If you google "union + [your sector]" it should come up with one. Just costs a few quid a month...
    Originally posted by Les79
    And if it ever comes to a disciplinary meeting (not the investigation, the meeting AFTER that), then they cannot refuse you having an accredited union rep with you.

    They thankfully sorted it but not until I threatened them with a solicitor (though in truth I rung two no-win-no-fee solicitors up and they both didn't want to pick it up!).


    In truth, I joined more for the advice they could give in situations which may be like yours. I don't know if, given my ex employer didn't officially recognise it, I could have asked the rep to attend a disciplinary with me but I assume so (with a lot of hassle attached to it).


    There's nothing stopping you from calling or emailing a union which is related to your field. As others have said, they may not help you because you aren't a paying member (somewhat undermines the likes of me who DOES pay) but they may actually give you some advice! A lot of union reps seem to be a bit more selfless than your average person and may be willing to help.


    Certainly consider joining one in the future though...



    Start planning your exit then. What are your interests? Got any specialised skills? Got any capital (money)? Potentially one thing you could do is start up your own business, like a caf! or something but you'd have to put in some hard graft to be fair (there may be funding schemes too if you can submit a business proposal etc).


    Ultimately, I would just milk this place for as much as you can and get some sort of exit strategy planned out. Maybe even try and find a local service/charity which gives job tips (the job centre is one such place).


    I would also finally have a think about the manner of your exit and the impact that might have on a claim for benefits. Ideally, you want it such that you aren't penalised.
    Originally posted by Les79
    They thankfully sorted it but not until I threatened them with a solicitor (though in truth I rung two no-win-no-fee solicitors up and they both didn't want to pick it up!).
    Originally posted by Les79
    Ah, but as you realise, they didn't know that ...

    I once had to write a letter which finished "If you insist on pursuing this course of action I shall consult my union." I don't think they knew I was in a union at the time, and they backed down pdq - mine is generally a very good employer and this was, I felt, a one-off.

    But it felt very empowering to be able to write that!

    Potentially one thing you could do is start up your own business, like a caf! or something but you'd have to put in some hard graft to be fair (there may be funding schemes too if you can submit a business proposal etc).
    Originally posted by Les79
    My advice to anyone who's been suffering from stress would be to be very very cautious in setting up their own business. It's likely to be extremely hard graft - and catering, I'd say, more than most! - and stressful. With no-one to pass that stress on to.
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    • love lifer
    • By love lifer 13th Jan 19, 7:05 PM
    • 714 Posts
    • 554 Thanks
    love lifer
    Hiya
    I was off work with related stress and depression for 18m. I too realised that the time had come to get out of my field, it was absolutely crucifying me
    i attended occupational health and had counselling which was invaluable, and helped me work out it was time to go- not just from a truly awful job but also a draining profession.
    I was on a redeployment register but nothing suited. I was dismissed on health grounds and honestly it was the best thing that could have happened. It took me a while longer to get back to feeling ok, but once I did I set up my own business and have never looked back. Im 53 so no spring chicken

    I must emphasise that I had to hit rock bottom, take meds and then start recovering before I could look at what next. Im guessing youre not in any fit state to plan your next move so if you can, sit back and look after yourself. The book 'sunbathing in the rain' by gwyneth lewis helped me so much, I'd urge anyone who is struggling to see the light to read it

    Sending you very best wishes
    • Les79
    • By Les79 13th Jan 19, 8:29 PM
    • 1,047 Posts
    • 1,204 Thanks
    Les79



    Ah, but as you realise, they didn't know that ...

    I once had to write a letter which finished "If you insist on pursuing this course of action I shall consult my union." I don't think they knew I was in a union at the time, and they backed down pdq - mine is generally a very good employer and this was, I felt, a one-off.

    But it felt very empowering to be able to write that!
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue

    Indeed, I think the calls to the solicitors made me realise that nobody really cares about fairness ASIDE FROM potentially the unions. Hence immediately joining. It is quite funny how much mentioning union membership shits (what has happened to the swear filter?) up certain bosses though, as per your example!



    My advice to anyone who's been suffering from stress would be to be very very cautious in setting up their own business. It's likely to be extremely hard graft - and catering, I'd say, more than most! - and stressful. With no-one to pass that stress on to.
    Totally agree!


    I just randomly picked a caf! (it keeps automatically putting the accent on the "e" here which is odd!) because I went to one today and they make a fair amount of business. Seems like one of the easier businesses to get into, in my opinion, if you pick the right location.


    But business is a hard graft and may not be suited for someone with mental health issues. I just sort of suspect that the MH issues are due to work and that there's a fair chance that OP would be better "running out the clock" on their own time.
    • panika
    • By panika 13th Jan 19, 8:49 PM
    • 134 Posts
    • 138 Thanks
    panika
    I have to admit I have been in the same or similar boat. I didn't realise how bad I have been till I got better. I used to worry nearly 24/7 and had hardly any sleep, had headaches, which couldn't be stopped by painkillers and really bad indigestion - constant feeling sick, living an heartburn tablets and feeling the constant tightness in my stomach.It eased after few weeks being off work and when medication for my stress started working. My managers were good when I came back, but we have wellbeing services at work and higher managers have to be training hoe to deal with people with stress/anxiety problems. I started to apply for a jobs, I am considering post I wouldn't apply before.It has been easier at work since I am back - I don"t tend to wind up myself like I used to, although I have sometimes stressful days. I fulfill my responsibilities and go extra mile sometimes, but I am more assertive, when I see, that duties, which should be done by colleagues on higher positions are being assigned to me.

    You can look around - what is available for your profession. I am considering the jobs I wouldn't apply before - I work in office setting, but applied for a jobs that involve traveling to customers.



    I hope you will get better soon. Use the time you are off to do what you enjoy doing. I was taking long walks, de-cluttered my flat and tried new cooking recipes.
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