5 January 2020 posted by Recovery Partners

Case study: *Mike, 24 years old, New South Wales.

Recovery Partners provided: New employment rehabilitation following a psychological injury


Mike is a 24 year-old man who lives in New South Wales. Mike was employed as a diesel mechanic when a workplace accident caused a vehicle to fall on him as he worked beneath it. While Mike managed to escape with only bruising physically, the accident left him severely shaken. When he spoke to his employer, Mike asked to be excused from working in those circumstances again as he felt it would be traumatic. The employer didn’t agree with this condition, and Mike resigned from his job.

‘When I met Mike, he was a bit lost,’ Vritika Chandra, Mike’s Recovery Partners Rehabilitation Consultant, says. ‘He felt financial pressure and was motivated to return to work in some way, but he wasn’t sure how.’ When Vritika first met Mike, he was undergoing counselling, at the suggestion of his GP, and reported that he was finding it helpful. Vritika consulted with Mike’s GP, who gave his professional opinion that Mike was physically and psychologically fit for work, and ready to return to employment. Mike’s GP also told Vritika that he believed regaining a sense of direction in his life could really help Mike feel better about his circumstances.

I offered Mike three sessions on a fortnightly basis, to discuss his work possibilities and strategies for finding work,’ says Vritika. ‘He’d finished school after Grade 10 and completed several apprenticeships in mechanics, but he’d never really considered other work, or been in the position of applying for jobs before.’ Vritika understood how overwhelming and intimidating the job-seeking world could be for someone in Mike’s position, and she advised him to focus on the small steps they could take to move forward, rather than worrying about the bigger picture.

She assessed Mike’s work history, skills, training and experience and talked to him about what he wanted to do. Then, she presented Mike with three employment options to consider:

  1. A role as a truck/delivery driver (Mike already had the relevant licenses)
  2. A customer service role (with a vehicle parts retailer or similar)
  3. As a mechanic but not a diesel mechanic (as this was his role at the time of the injury).

Mike was open to all these options, as was his GP. In their first session, Vritika helped Mike develop his resume, set up jobseeker profiles on online platforms and apply for jobs, and provided him with resources to give him further support in his job-seeking efforts.

‘By our second session, Mike had already secured interviews with two different companies for truck driving positions,’ says Vritika. ‘We decided that a mock interview could be a helpful exercise at this stage. It gave him the chance to prepare answers to likely questions, including how to disclose his injury and his reasons for leaving his previous role. Like a lot of people returning to work after an injury, this was something that concerned Mike, and he felt better once he had some ideas about how to frame his experience.

By his third session with Vritika, Mike had successfully gained new employment as a mechanic, and was optimistic about his new role. ‘The new employer gave Mike the opportunity to ease back into work by doing only night and afternoon shifts at first, and he appreciated that. He seemed relieved that his financial stresses would now be eased and grateful that his life was back on track.’

When working with any client, it’s important to treat them as an individual, and not try to apply a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, Vritika says. ‘To work well with Mike, I needed to carefully consider his psychological state and personality but also psychosocial factors like his living arrangements and support networks, as well as matching his motivation levels.’

Thank you to Vritika and Mike for sharing this success story with us. Congratulations on being able to return back to work Mike, it is these kind of positive experiences that motivate us all here at Recovery Partners.

Recovery Partners provides personalised service to customers in all areas of workplace safety and occupational rehabilitation. If you’d like to chat about how we can help you, call Recovery Partners on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email admin@rrp.com.au.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned

Factsheet: The Rights of An Injured Worker

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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