When I first went to the employment service I wasn’t very well at all. I was suffering from stress, depression and nervous exhaustion. I had been signed off sick from work by my GP and I was on the waiting list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but as that was going to take a couple of months to get seen, one of the psychologists asked if I would be interested in employment advice [from Mind in Hackney].

I really didn’t know what to expect – and quite frankly, employment was the last thing on my mind at that point in time. However, I was actually very pleasantly surprised at how useful this service turned out to be – in fact I would say it was the only thing that helped me to keep my life on track through a very difficult period, when there was so much chaos in most areas of my life.

At my first appointment with Ian he helped me to put some of my random thoughts in order and we worked together on drawing up an action plan for me. This looked at my return to work options as well as some other ideas I had about what I wanted to do. We then met regularly over the next couple of months, updating the action plan at every meeting.

I honestly hadn’t realised prior to seeing Ian how closely linked my mental health was to the job I was doing. I now feel as though I am seeing everything through much clearer eyes, and because of this I was able to meet with my manager, discuss my return to work with him and set out a plan to do that.

I can honestly say that the action plan was an invaluable tool for enabling me to get my life back on track. In fact, it has probably proved to be the most useful turning point in my life, and it has set me on course for a much more productive and healthier working life, and hopefully a much happier future.

*Name and photo identity have been changed.