Work has hugely improved my mental health
Samuel first experienced mental health challenges during his teenage years, which despite him seeking help for, continued to be prevalent during his work and continuing education. A breakthrough happened when he decided to use his own experiences with his mental health to support other people going through similar challenges. Here Samuel tells us in his own words how Twining Enterprise helped him with advice on how to prepare for work, have effective conversations around mental health in the workplace and helped him to develop his own wellbeing plan to support himself to thrive in the workplace.
I first experienced mental health problems when I was a teenager. When I was taking my exams at A Level, I experienced my first panic attack during one of my further maths exams. From then on, I continued to experience anxiety throughout university, but never sought after any help.
When I got my first job after university, I was working in a pressurised job where I found it difficult to cope and I became incredibly stressed. I had a series of panic attacks which led to going to A&E and being signed off work for 3 weeks. A few months after my stress got even worse and I ended up getting sectioned under the mental health act for psychosis in a psychiatric hospital for about 3 weeks.
That summer I was due to start a PhD program in solar physics. I moved far away from home to a very good university, but when I started the PhD program, I found it difficult to cope with the medication I was prescribed as it made me incredibly drowsy, and I started to experience suicidal thoughts and depression. For these reasons, I had to leave my PhD program which I was very sad about as it was something that I was very passionate about.
I moved back to London. When I was under the care of my local EIS team, one of the workers suggested I get in contact with Twining Enterprise. I eventually found a job in the city and Twining Enterprise helped me transition into my new job in the city by giving me advice about mental health in the workplace.
Soon after I started my job in the city, I had another psychotic episode and was sectioned as I was not taking my medication. It was a very scary time, and from the time I was discharged I decided that I wanted to turn things around and not go back to being in hospital again.
When I was discharged, I started to take my medication as prescribed, used the local services such as Twining Enterprise and the EIS social group to their full potential and went for counselling. Twining Enterprise helped me transition back into the workplace by giving me advice on my mental health condition in the workplace and liaising directly with my employer.
After getting help from Twining Enterprise and the other services, I then got another job in the city. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I also had to leave due to my mental health. I attended the EIS social group when I went through a period of unemployment and one of the leaders of the group suggested I apply for a job as a Peer Support Worker to use my experiences of mental health problems to help others. I applied for a Peer Support job at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust and got the job.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust. I have been able to learn so much about people and use my experiences of mental health to help others. I am now moving on to study towards a PGCE with a local school and I hope to continue my PhD studies one day at a university closer to home.
Going back to work has hugely improved my mental health as it gives me a sense of purpose and Twining Enterprise have been excellent with providing me with advice on how to prepare for work, how to have effective conversations around mental health in the workplace and giving me a wellbeing plan which I hugely benefitted from.