Ways to Overcome Employment Barriers When You Struggle with Mental Health

Your physical and mental health levels could be ones you’re born with or ones that develop over time. They both matter. So how can you give yourself the best chance?

Mental health and you

Mental health can be linked to a condition that may benefit from extra support like medication or care. Your mental health levels can change over time, which is why people also talk about wellbeing. Your wellbeing is about your general peace of mind and how you care for yourself on a day to day basis. Looking after your wellbeing can often affect your mental health for the better.

Examples of looking after your wellbeing:

  • Take care of important everyday things like being clean and groomed as a way of showing you care about yourself
  • Stay connected with people who matter to you
  • If you can, exercise on a regular basis to improve your mood and establish healthy routines
  • Engage in creative and personally satisfying activities that interest you
  • Treat yourself and take breaks

Examples of looking after your mental health:

  • Try to be aware of your emotions over time and be honest with yourself about how you are feeling
  • Reach out for help if you think you might need it
  • If you are offered support or treatment from a professional, give the treatment a chance so that you can genuinely tell if it’s a good fit for you

Mental health and study

Exams and revision are famous for making students feel more stressed than usual. Revising for exams, taking them and waiting for results are important times to put your wellbeing first!

Mental health and job hunting

Job hunting can have an effect on your mental health because it needs a lot of resilience to cope with rejections and uncertainty without feeling like they reflect your value as a person.

Ways to boost your wellbeing while job hunting:

  • Being strategic (apply for things that can help you in the short or long term, and know the difference)
  • Set yourself achievable tasks with SMART goals
  • Ask for help with checking cover letters and networking
  • Make time for breaks and rewards
  • Try to replace negative thinking (“I messed up that interview”) with positive thinking “I learned a lot from doing that interview”)
  • Seek mental health support from your GP if you start getting really depressed or anxious over time
  • Research ways to de-stress before job interviews that work for you

Mental health and work

When you are dealing with mental health problems at work, it can be a challenge to recognise your value as a person and to act, feel and think with confidence. For example, you may not know your work rights when it comes to mental health. And it may be hard to separate critical feedback (which everyone gets in their first jobs, it’s useful information that helps them to learn and grow) with your possibly negative view of yourself.

The links point to more information and advice on building your confidence in work situations where your mental health can become a possible barrier to your confidence in progressing in your goals.

Mental health and working from home

Some young people are now working from home, which has lots of benefits (like no travel time) but also has the risk of feeling less connected with your team. The Every Mind Matters resource from the NHS has some really good working from home tips for mental wellbeing.

Mental health resources for young people

If you decide to reach out to someone about your mental health, that is an important first step. Who can help?

Mental health support for UK students
UK mental health resources for young people
UK mental health crisis helplines

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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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