Case Study - Audrey's Story
Audrey, a career professional with over two decades of experience in her field, contacted the service after being off work sick for several weeks, following an alleged error at work. She was not sleeping well, suffering from poor memory, lack of concentration, and palpitations. She was also anxious about how she was perceived by her work colleagues.
She was considering a change in career, due to recent changes to her team and what she perceived as a lack of support from her manager. The dates of the impending investigation into the alleged mistake had not been confirmed, and this was the greatest source of anxiety for her when she got in touch with Wellbeing through Work.
Our advisor focussed on helping Audrey to manage her stress levels by learning how to think about what was concerning her in a different way, using an approach called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). We also encouraged Audrey to re-engage in hobbies she had once enjoyed, and to take regular exercise. She attended a course organised by WtW with others who were off work with anxiety and depression. She told us that this helped her to feel less alone, and realise that other people also struggle with similar issues.
An assessment of Audrey’s wellbeing showed that our work with her had improved her mental and physical health, and that her depression was less severe. Just a couple of months after intervention, she felt more able to cope with her worries, and felt ready to return to work, though she is considering a change of sector in the future.
Case Study - Beverley's Story
Beverley, an admin worker, was referred to Wellbeing through Work with anxiety and depression. Beverley reported her belief that these feelings related to the behaviour of a senior colleague, who she described as bullying her and some of her co-workers. This behaviour had allegedly been ongoing for a number of months.
Beverley had talked to her manager, but she felt this had done nothing towards resolving the problem, and so the union had become involved. When Beverley was referred, she had been on sickness absence for a few days. She had also been off sick several months earlier, for a short period. Beverley had been taking anti-depressants for a number of months in the hope of lifting her mood.
Beverley also told us about some physical health issues and problems with eating; in addition, she had ongoing worries about her health, following a recent serious illness .
When our advisor first talked to Beverley, she said she had lost all motivation, given up on hobbies, found sleeping difficult, had a reduced appetite, did little physical activity, felt distracted and constantly worried about work, and felt “helpless and unsupported”. She had no immediate plans to return to work.
Our advisor helped Beverley use the ‘five areas’ approach which helps by linking situation, thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviours and recognising how these interact. They focussed together on stress management techniques, managing unhelpful thinking and planning goals. While we were working with Beverley, she was offered the chance to move teams temporarily, and decided to accept this offer.
By the time Beverley left the Wellbeing through Work scheme, she was back in her original job, and had resumed some of her hobbies. She was eating more and her cough had disappeared. Assessments showed that Beverley’s journey with WtW had resulted in a huge improvement in her mental wellbeing, with her anxiety and depression both substantially lower than when she began.
Case Study - Charlie's story
Charlie, who had recently been diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder, contacted Wellbeing through Work for support late last year. He was employed in the commercial sector as a manual worker.
The diagnosis had been a complete shock to Charlie, who had assumed the symptoms he was experiencing were just part of getting older. Our WtW Health Advisor assessed Charlie, and arranged to visit his employer to get a better understanding of Charlie’s work and health issues.
Charlie’s employer valued him, and had created a temporary role within the business which was manageable for him, whilst trying to establish the full effects of his health issues and the possible impact on the company.
With permission from Charlie, our WtW Health Advisor made a referral on his behalf with a specialist, based at his local hospital, to get him health support and advice. Our WtW Advisor then provided support to Charlie to help him put the specialist’s recommendations into action over the following weeks.
A WtW Employment Advisor then contacted the company’s HR department and Charlie’s line manager to organise a meeting regarding options which might allow him to remain in his job. Unfortunately, at the meeting, it was explained that the organisation was not in a position to extend the temporary job role. Charlie’s physical needs meant he was no longer able to safely continue his original role. The physical nature of his work meant that reasonable adjustments were not appropriate and therefore the company had no option but to terminate his employment.
The WtW Employment Advisor made a referral to a Remploy job retention advisor, as Charlie needed long term support, beyond WtW was able to offer. The Remploy advisor also referred him to the Disability Employment Advisor at the Job Centre for support with benefit advice and further assistance with finding a new job role.
Charlie has now had his employment terminated, but Remploy is continuing to work with him to look at his transferrable skills and re-training requirements. Charlie is now receiving DLA and relevant benefits he needs to support him, whilst he takes advantage of all the support options available.
Although Charlie was not able to stay in his original role, WtW helped him to access the right support at the right time, and to obtain the full range of benefits he is entitled to. We wish him every success in the future.
Case Study - Dawn's Story
Dawn was told about Wellbeing through Work by her Occupational Health nurse. When she contacted us, Dawn felt that she was bieng made ill by a situation involving senior colleagues and a 'culture of bullying' at work. Dawn had started acting differently at home, and her family had begun to notice how low she was feeling. She was also having difficulty sleeping and was unable to manage her exisitng health problems.
Dawn was still going to work but was starting to feel that her only option was to take sick leave. However, she stayed in work because she felt it was her responsibility to support other staff who were experiencing the same issues.
Dawn was in contact with the Wellbeing through Work team for a total of nine weeks, including her intital telephone assessment, five telephone follow-ups sessions, and a four-sessions 'Wellbing to Work' course.
We helped Dawn to use the 'five areas', a cognitive behavioural therapy approach, so she could link situation, thoughts, feelings, physical symptons and behaviours and recognise how they interact. In particular, Dawn focussed on stress management techniques, managing her unhelpful thinking and improving her assertiveness.
When Dawn was assessed to see how using the Wellbeing thorugh Work Service had impacted on her health, results showed a marked decrease in anxiety, a recovery from mild depression and a much improved mental state. Dawn remained in work and said she felt more able to cope both in work and at home.
Case Study - Evan's Story
Evan was referred to Wellbeing through Work by an Occupational Therapist who believed his depressive illness was a result of problems at work.
Evan had difficulties with taking notes, memory retention and understanding what was required of him. Tasks look Evan longer than they took other colleagues, due to the level of concentration he needed to use to be sure he didn't make mistakes. this situation became so bad that Evan was reprimanded, and was told he might be facing disciplinary action.
This increased Evan's anxiety and he felt lower than ever; he told us that he spent most of the time outside work in bed, yet was unable to sleep and he felt continually exhausted.
Evan called Wellbeing through Work; his problems were reviewed, and an appointment was made for a face to face meeting.
When Evan met our advisor, he told our advisor that he was worried deep down that he might have dyslexia as, from a young age, he had struggled with writing down what he had heard. Our Employment Advisor suggested dyslexia screening via a Remploy specialist advisor, and Evan agreed to this.
In addition, Evan also received support over the phone, face-to-face and by email.
Evan was assessed using Bangor University's Adult Dyslexia checklist. The results showed no evidence of dyslexia, but identified a condition affected by glare, luminance, light wavelength and contrast.
Wellbeing through Work recommended several reasonable adjustments that Evan's employer could make, including:-
- installing instant spell checker on his computer
- accepting verbal reports where possible
- allowing Evan extra time for certain tasks
- colour coding various items and work subjects
- providing clear and concise instructions
- providing Evan with an anti-glare filter and, if possible, a larger screen.
Now these issues have been addressed, Evan is feeling less anxious. His Wellbeing through Work Advisor has recommended the Wellbeing to Work course to help him deal with the motivational and confidence issues which stemmed from his condition.
Case Study - Frank's Story
Frank, a professional cleaner, had recently been off work due to constant pain in the front of both his knees, which had been bothering him for around a year.
Although Frank had been managing his knee problem in recent months, he was getting worried about work-based task, including use of the floor cleaner and the amount of standing and walking required by his job.
Frank had previously had a long period off work due to an undiagnosed problem which doctors believe was heart-related.
He told our advisor that the amount of pain in his knees varied quite a lot. On a day to day basis, the pain in his knee often stopped him walking any distance, going down stairs or kneeling. At night, the pain was disturbing Frank's sleep.
Frank's GP had previously advised that he believed the pain was due to his kneecap rubbing against his femur; however, an x-ray in December 2011 indicated no significant findings.
When our Wellbeing through Work Advisor assessed Frank over the phone, they discussed a number of topics. They talked about his previous sick leave, his upcoming review with HR and a potential phased return to work. They also covered Frank's management of his knee pain, and how he was coping at work - including his anxieties and his level of confidence. Frank's description of his symptoms suggested to our advisor that he was suffering mechanical knee pain.
As Frank had not been seen by a physiotherapist, his advisor believed he would benefit from a more in depth assessment, advice and appropriate treatment and referred him to his employer's Muscle and Joint service.
Wellbeing through Work liaised with his physiotherapist, and also contacted Frank by phone several times over an 18 week period. These conversations involved advice and guidance around lifestyle and return to work issues. They covered the benefits of returning to work, pacing himself carefully, discussing things with his line manager, and also lifestyle factors which might be affecting his knees, such as his weight.
By the time Frank had his final conversation with his Wellbeing through Work Advisor, he told us that he felt 80% normal and had more manageable symptoms. He told us he was happy to continue with the self-management exercises his advisor had taught him. His phased return to work had been successful, and Frank was back to his normal working pattern.