23 February City leaders gather to discuss mental health and long-term physical conditions in the workplace
How reaching out to the Samaritans can make a difference
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and many feel they have no one to turn to for help. Whether you are having a problem at work, at home or when life is simply overwhelming you picking up the phone and talking to someone really can help.
Below we hear from Gina who is 28 from Leeds. She struggled to find the right support to help her manage her mental health in the workplace. After losing her job, Gina reached out for help and has successfully completed a master’s degree and is in a much better place.
“I had experienced depression since my teens. In my early twenties, I started a new job, and I became suddenly very overwhelmed. Just finding the energy to get up in the mornings seemed impossible. I decided to confide in my line manager so they could support me. My line manager had no idea what to do with me and made it very clear that I was to keep my ‘issues’ a secret to stop it affecting anyone else in the office. It wasn’t quite the reaction I’d been hoping for… That was really hard to take if I’m honest, because I felt so alone – it made me feel embarrassed.
Things got progressively worse for me, and I began to self-harm. Over the next few weeks, I felt unable to cope with the feelings I was experiencing, which were now impacting on my work life. I ended up being signed off work and after two months, my manager let me go.
Suddenly becoming unemployed was a shock and heightened my anxiety. That night, I made plans to end my life; everything was going wrong. I felt worthless and now had the added pressure of not knowing how I was going to get by without a regular income. In desperation, I called Samaritans. I called because I was embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn't handle my workload and pressures. I didn’t feel confident to tell friends or family. But with Samaritans it was okay - they didn’t judge me, they just listened.
The call gave me courage and strength to keep going. Thanks to that volunteer, I got home safely that night. I found calling Samaritans easier than speaking with a counsellor. You can’t always fully open up to a counsellor because there’s a worry that you might say too much, or you’re worrying about what they might think...
I’m in a much better place now. I feel more able to talk about my depression and what I was going through with friends and family. It was from my own experience that I was then able to be there to listen to a friend who was going through something similar herself.
Since losing my job, I went back to university and managed to successfully complete a master's degree, something I’m really proud of.”
To learn more about the Samaritans important work head to www.samaritans.org
To find out more about our Wellbeing in the Workplace initiative click here