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Forums / Staying well / Finding Employment While Unwell

Topic: Finding Employment While Unwell

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. Matches
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Matches  avatar
    33 posts
    3 May 2019
    I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been unemployed most of my life. I desperately want to work and make a positive contribution to the community. My work history is obviously lousy, and when I apply for jobs this is extremely evident, I simply don’t get any response from employers, although I’m qualified in a high demand occupation. Knowing that I’m unwell and knowing that the best thing for me is to be active, how do I get a job? How do I have a conversation with potential employers? How do I get a foot in the door? Where are the MI friendly employers?
  2. Doolhof
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Doolhof avatar
    8755 posts
    4 May 2019 in reply to Matches

    Hi Matches,

    Unfortunately securing employment even when you have no mental health or physical issues can be difficult.

    You mentioned you are qualified for a high demand occupation. Does this mean you have received the qualifications and training but not had any previous work in that industry?

    Is it possible to request some work experience with a company or organisation of your chosen field? That may be a way to gain entry into that field of work.

    My husband left his place of work after 30 years due to the organisation closing down. He had been a supervisor. The only work he could gain in the end was packing shelves in a supermarket! It gave him an income and proved to future employers he was willing to work somewhere!

    My husband went door to door to different businesses and asked to personally hand his resume to the employment officer of that work place and even the manager at times if he could get his foot in the door.

    I've been unemployed myself for a couple of years now due to mental health issues. I am building up my resilience with 3 different volunteer roles.

    It is tough. I acknowledge your struggles and hope you manage to find some answers.

    Regards from Dools

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Alexlisa
    Alexlisa avatar
    196 posts
    4 May 2019 in reply to Matches

    Hello Matches,

    Welcome to the forums ☺️

    I don’t have much experience using them, but I know that there are employment agencies out there that work specifically with people with mental illness. One is Wise Employment and another is Ostara. I briefly was using Ostara and from memory I needed to go through Centrelink to access them, but it’s worth just giving them a call to see what they say.

    I’m not sure of the kind of work that you’re trained for, but something I’ve noticed over the years is that there’s lots of people with a lived experience of mental illness working in the mental health sector. In a whole range of roles. It makes sense that they would be some of the most understanding employers for us. I wonder for myself if this is something I’d like to look into in the future.

    Another option, because you mention that your work history is lacking, would be to aim for employment in a more simple job. It’ll let you add something to your resume, but I think more importantly is that it’ll let you see how you cope in a workplace, what works best for you, and how to take care of yourself. You could see it as a kind of gradual exposure that will help you build your confidence. If you looked for work, say in a supermarket with a big name company, it would look pretty good on a resume I think. Plus a lot of businesses have the possibility to move upwards once you’re employed.

    I know none of this is ideal though. It’s really disheartening how hard it is for us to find work. And as you mention, it’s important that we feel like we’re contributing in some way. I really hope you can find an employer who treats you well and sees that you’re more than your illness.

    Take care,


    2 people found this helpful
  4. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    315 posts
    14 May 2019 in reply to Matches

    HI Matches.

    I agree with you that it is embarrassing to try and re-enter the workforce due to illness of any kind. I have also been unemployed most of my life. But I have had lots of Voluntary experience. Like Dools I would encourage you to get out there by just doing something voluntarily.

    I started by joining various NFP organisations that were relevant to my life experience, and my name is now starting to get out there.

    With Employment Agencies you need to find someone who will work with you and give you guidance and help. Centrelink can give you a list of agencies that you are eligible for. I agree with Alex it is worth going with the ones that do have respect for those with mental issues. I attend different conferences that are of interest to network and make myself known.

    With time I know that I can find the right job it is just a matter of being consistent, but most importantly be patient with your self. Mental Health Recovery is a Long Journey. My agency helped me with my resume.

    Kind Regards


  5. Matches
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Matches  avatar
    33 posts
    21 May 2019 in reply to IreneM

    Thanks Irene,

    I'm very familiar with Centrelink and job agencies and have previously been on the disability pension for my mental illness. Because I'm on stream C, the agencies are happy to go through the motions, I guess I'm now one of there bread'n butter clients. What's ironic is that I'm now getting rejected by charities! Beyond Blue aren't taking volunteers at this moment. I'm bipolar so recovery and relapse are all part of the cycle. I now suspect that the mental health industry keeps people down, how else are they going to earn their living?

    1 person found this helpful
  6. DannyG
    DannyG avatar
    76 posts
    21 May 2019 in reply to Matches

    Hi Matches

    i don’t have any answers for you only to say that I understand your frustration and I’m in a similar situation. I too am not able to find any volunteer work - my applications/ enquires are ignored. Just know that you are not alone in feeling this way :)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5937 posts
    21 May 2019 in reply to Matches
    Hi Matches,

    Welcome to the Beyond Blue online forums. Please know that we value your contribution to our online community, and are sorry that you are experiencing difficulties in finding opportunities to help you move forward in your mental health journey. Our online forums are definitely a great place to start.

    Even though our Volunteer Hub is currently closed, there are a number of other ways you can get involved, including joining our online reference group Blue Voices and participating in various fundraising activities. We’d suggest visiting our ‘Get involved’ page to find out more about these opportunities: .

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