From physical injury to psychological distress and out again: How RP Consultant Jess helped give this worker hope for the future again
When this worker’s physical injury turned into psychological pain, he needed help to see how his future could be positive again.
Mental Health Month
October is Mental Health Month, and this story of a worker who developed mental health difficulties after an ankle injury is a testament to the ability of people to lift each other up in hard times. We’re proud of the work that all our Recovery Partners consultants do with workers who’ve experienced psychological injuries and we’ll continue to advocate for a commitment to proactive employee wellbeing initiatives in workplaces to facilitate better mental health outcomes for Australian workers.
A physical injury turned into psychological distress
*Graham was a salesperson in a trades supplies company when he experienced an ankle injury and was prescribed strong painkillers. ‘Graham was taking quite significant amounts of painkillers to manage his pain, but he eventually realised he’d developed an opioid dependency,’ says Recovery Partners Consultant Jess Abel. ‘He’d been let go from his old job and he wasn’t feeling good, psychologically. He was separated from his partner and had young children, but not a lot of family support.’
Jess asked Graham to tap into his network
Although he was still experiencing an opioid dependency, Graham was capable of working and wanted to find a job again, but struggled with the motivation to do so, Jess says. ‘It was difficult to engage Graham with the job-seeking process. But, he’d run his own business in earlier years and had a good network of connections from his last sales job, so I encouraged him to think about that as a resource he could use. We also looked at SIRA’s JobCover placement program as an option.’
SIRA’s JobCover placement program provides an incentive
As you may have read about in our earlier blogs, SIRA’s JobCover placement program provides incentives to employers to employ workers who’ve experienced an injury and are unable to return to work with their pre-injury employers. ‘Graham gave me a list of some contacts in his network that he had a good relationship with,’ says Jess. ‘I began cold-calling them to see if any of them had positions available and if they were interested in using the JobCover program. One of them, in particular, remembered Graham well and was really pleased to hear from me. They were a former customer from his sales role and had wondered where he’d gone. They asked me to send through the paperwork straight away.’ The benefit of tapping into existing contacts is that they’re already aware of the person’s training, knowledge and interpersonal skills, having experienced them for themselves, Jess explains.
A former customer became a future employer
‘The company that is interested in Graham and the JobCover program want him to do more back-of-house work, which he’s definitely qualified for, as a former business owner himself,’ Jess says. ‘Although COVID-19 has put a temporary spanner in the works, Graham has stayed in touch with them and they’re keen to hire him as soon as they’re able.’ The difference this job prospect made to Graham’s mindset was immense, Jess says. ‘Knowing he had possibilities on the horizon, that he was valued and had things to look forward to really helped to turn Graham’s mental health around,’ Jess confirms. ‘He’s drawn up a reduction plan for his medication and he’s feeling much more positive.’ Together, Jess and Andrew are working on securing further psychological supports for Graham to help shift his opioid dependency, and Jess feels optimistic about his recovery and future success in his career.
An Employee Assistance Program for your workplace
If you’d like to know more about how Recovery Partners can help your client with the JobCover program or you’re an employer interested in implementing workplace wellbeing or Employee Assistance Program, get in touch.
Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental health issues and you need someone to talk to, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. *Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in this case.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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