Ashling has long term mental health conditions which have had a significant impact on her ability to work over the years. With debilitating symptoms including hallucinating and hearing voices. 

Made worse by stress, she found herself in a cycle of finding and having to leave new jobs. Due to the stress and anxiety of not feeling ready or able to work- Ashling’s symptoms were becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

In addition to this she found herself trying to enter the workforce as an older person, and before receiving support from the Work Fit team on The Work and Health Programme, imagined a future spent on benefits and a state pension.

However, once Ashling began to work with Yvonne (Left), a coach on Work Fit, not only did she get practical advice and support, but a person centred and holistic approach. This allowed for her to start to think differently and feel fully supported to move forward and into work.

Whilst the Job Centre found Ashling a new role, it was Yvonne’s regular phone calls that kept her focused and feeling supported. So much so, she was able to sustain her new role and feel much more positive about her future in work.

Over the course of four months speaking with Yvonne, including, coping techniques, friendly guidance and signposting support. Ashling became calmer, confident and happier, which allowed her to take on new information at work without anxiety and enabled her to feel secure in her new role.

Ashling said,

“I was in a place where I couldn’t even see myself having another job again. I didn’t think I would ever get back into the workplace at 60. I thought my mental health wouldn’t enable me to get there.

“Yvonne and I had a rapport straight away, she was very warm and real… I went from a state of psychosis to feeling calm, happy and confident. A state that was just right for me to be in, when starting a new job

“Our call every 10 days, gave me a goal to focus on and I couldn’t wait for us to talk. I was able to tell her I was coping and that I’d been OK.

“Work Fit were there for me throughout the training period of my new job and for the time after that, so I gradually grew in confidence, not only in my ability to do the job but in coping with life generally”

Work fit not only check in to support participants in the early days of a new job, they can also support with daily wellbeing.

This was evident with Ashling, as Yvonne helped her to set achievable daily walking targets meaning Ashling could get fresh air and some steps in every day. These easy to achieve goals gave Ashling a sense of achievement and a positive mindset that ‘was really good for my mental health and set realistic expectations”.

Yvonne commented

“Over the months we spoke, I could hear in Ashling’s voice she had changed, she sounded more confident and much happier. The holistic and remote support Work Fit offer, really is life changing”

The Work and Health Programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund for participants who started on the programme before 1st November.

Area: Bristol

Watch Ashling talk to Yvonne here:  Yvonne talks with Aishling about the life- changing support of the Work Fit Programme – YouTube



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