Andrea’s story

My name is Andrea. I am Black African and I am 51. I live in Sydenham and am a divorcee with three children who are young adults. I live alone and I have a mental illness called schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia has affected me so much that I can’t work at its peak. I have suffered from this illness for many years now. It comes and reduces but is never gone. This is the reason I have not been working. Especially for the last two years, it has been intense and affecting me looking for work. I even tried to work from home doing self-employed and freelance jobs, all to no avail.

Then, this year, I was connected with Michelle, my employment specialist. My mental health state has improved with depot (a monthly injection). I still hear the voices, but in a reduced state.

Michelle helped me a lot in getting me ready for the job search, like updating my CV, cover letter and introducing me to different websites with job opportunities. She also told me how employment will affect my universal credit and employment and support allowance. She boosted my confidence in the job hunt.

I needed some experience at a place of work with administration duties. Michelle was able to help me find one as an administration assistant 10 hours a week. I am very grateful.

Thanks to Michelle for all the help, support and encouragement that I can do this despite the short comings with my mental health state. I know if I can do this with the support I had, anyone else can do it too – just don’t give up. Trust in your God and the people he has brought to help you. I also want to thank the doctor, nurses and care co-ordinator who have been there for me. God bless.

If you’re unemployed or having difficulties at work, support is available. Check if you’re eligible for employment support from Work Well.