Phased return Occupation Health interview

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi there. I been off work with WRS, anxiety and depression. I have suffered with depression on and off since my teens but this time it was mega. Crippling physical pain and at my lowest point I had suicidal thoughts but the last time that happened was early march. Since then I have received telephone counselling from my employer (NHS 6-12 month waiting list) . This was a major break through as until this all I had were antidepressants and being signed off by GP from my primary teaching job.

In addition to this I embarked on daily exercise and this also made a huge difference. Consequently , I referred myself to Occupational Health to discuss the prospect of a phased return. My GP was happy for me to try this at the end of May but to not go fully up to full time this term. As my school is no longer LA affliated our Academy Trust uses an outside OH provider and I attended their clinic last week.

On arrival at their very corporate premises I realised these people dealt with all sorts of employees and did not specialise in education. I anticipated that and as a result knew it would take a fair bit of explaining to the clinician of how my breakdown came about. This was not a recovery from injury, physical illness, bereavement, this was a result of years of unachievable workload, ridiculous expectations and unpleasant bullying by parents of children I teach this year. As I tried to explain this he interrupted me and said “we only have 45 mins so let me lead this discussion! What was it that led to you being off work?". Of course there was no simple answer but he wanted me to pinpoint and I then said that receiving one vicious email from a parent broke me and in the hours that followed I wanted to kill myself. This one event didn't cause all of this though and I felt very upset that he did not have time to listen.

He did agree to a phased return in incremental stages and accepted that bullying was unacceptable. However, my husband tried to explain that the specific year group I teach (Year 6 -SATs and residential trip abroad) was a really onerous workload that I had done for 7 years and needed a change and to change to part time. My husband asked if he would note this and recommend the change. His reply to my husband was “you’ve said that 3 times already! I can't control an operational decision!". We knew this. How patronising. All my husband was trying to do was to get him to note it as a recommendation. He did do this but wouldn't have if we hadn't pressed the point.

In essence I hope the report will be ok but I found the whole experience completely impersonal and upsetting. I have been free of suicidal thoughts for a month now but after this I returned to many symptoms of previous depressive episodes. Fortunately, I had written a suicide plan and was able to use it and find support.

Has anyone else out there had similar difficulties with OH or done a phased return. I'm worried that I am still quite fragile.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Sally_66

    We note from a recent post which you have made to our forum that you may be experiencing thoughts around self-harm. If we have misinterpreted your comments then we apologies for contacting you directly. But if you are having such thoughts then please note that you are not alone in this, and there are people out there that can help.

    If you are having these suicidal thoughts then we strongly recommend you speak to someone who may be able to help. The Samaritans offer a safe space where you can talk openly about what you are going through. They can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen.

    Their contact details are on our patient information leaflet here: https://patient.info/health/dealing-with-suicidal-thoughts, which also offers lots of other advice on how you can access the help you may need.

    If you are having such thoughts then please do reach out to the team at the Samaritans (or the other people detailed in our leaflet) who will understand what you're going through and will be able to help.

    Kindest regards

    Patient

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  • Posted

    have you been back to the doctors.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sally

    i worked for Nhs as a nurse for 10 years but had ended up leaving the career in 2017 due to being too unwell to return. i had depression which i was medicated for whilst working and my employer was understanding, up to a point! I ended up having more and more time off and had a serious suicide attempt and so my employer referred me to OH. My experience of them wasnt all that helpful either. I got the feeling, after seeing them that they were there for the employer more than for us if you know what i mean. The doctor at OH that I saw was extremely critical and sharp with me. I ended up getting my union involved. In the end I ended up gving up my career as it was too much pressure.

    I also did a phased return about 3 times on returning to work. What I will say is make sure that you agree with the phased return proposed and make sure it is not too much. I would also say make sure that you are 100% ready to go back because often as soon as you are back at work, often you are expected go go back at it same as before with little support (my experience anyway)

    your health comes first at the end of the day and teaching (as with nursing) can be highly stressful

    take care

    LISA

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    • Posted

      Hi lisa95164

      We note from a recent post which you have made to our forum that you may be experiencing thoughts around mental health. If we have misinterpreted your comments then we apologies for contacting you directly. But if you are having such thoughts then please note that you are not alone in this, and there are people out there that can help.

      If you are having these suicidal thoughts then we strongly recommend you speak to someone who may be able to help. The Samaritans offer a safe space where you can talk openly about what you are going through. They can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen.

      Their contact details are on our patient information leaflet here: https://patient.info/health/dealing-with-suicidal-thoughts, which also offers lots of other advice on how you can access the help you may need.

      If you are having such thoughts then please do reach out to the team at the Samaritans (or the other people detailed in our leaflet) who will understand what you're going through and will be able to help.

      Kindest regards

      Patient

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  • Posted

    1 question after hearing how awful such a so called helpful organisation has been. have you made a complaint about how you they treated you at ocvupstional health (to someone higher up?), also, and more importantly are you part of a union? they protect worker's rights. please say you are and you mqy then have the support you need. i would start there if i were you as they will back your rights as an employee and a human being. well done for sticking teaching by the way, you obviously have a kind heart! good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi I was sent to Occupational Health several times when I was off sick with depression. Although I found them helpful and apart from one very understanding I soon realised it's a sop by the law to make you think this can make a difference. I found that they can only make recommendations but it is always subject to 'business needs'. In that sense they were as much use as a chocolate teapot! x

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