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Occupational health referral for therapy/counselling

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by bob_the_tom8to, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    Does anyone have experience of an occupational health referral? I'm not well because of my mental health/eating disorder since the birth of my daughter. I talked to my headteacher today (we have a good relationship and one of her daughters had anorexia when she was a teenager so I feel like she understands a little). I explained how much I'm struggling and how I'm on waiting lists for therapy through my GP but I've been told that it could be 18 months for 1:1 therapy. (My situation is complicated and my GP and I have exhausted many other avenues of therapy but because of the severity of my symptoms this is our only option).

    My headteacher suggested referring me through occupational health to see whether there is any support available sooner. My concern is that my ability to teach may be brought into question if occupational health get involved and I feel like I am good at what I do and I don't want to lose that. My headteacher said that it's up to me and just to let her know if I want to be referred. Any advice would be greatly appreciated thank you xxx
  2. fudgeface

    fudgeface Occasional commenter

    I don't know that I can offer any worthwhile advice, but wanted to say I'm thinking of you.

    Have you tried the teacher support network?
    thistledoo and galerider123 like this.
  3. catbanj

    catbanj Occasional commenter

    Does your school have sickness insurance? Ours does and you can get councelling through that system. Its confidential, all school get is a notification you've accessed the service when the insurers ask them to confirm that you work at the school. It could be worth asking.

    BTW Any councellor is bound by client confidentiality so won't share what you say unless they think you are at risk of harm when they are obliged to help you to stay safe. Occ Health are independent and report back to school what support school should make in order for you to stay healthy and thrive.
  4. catbanj

    catbanj Occasional commenter

    PS. It was a sign of a strong person to do to ask for help. Look after yourself. x
    thistledoo and bob_the_tom8to like this.
  5. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    I finally and grudgingly agreed to be referred to OccHealth because of my mental health - before I'd always refused because I was really worried about confidentiality and the risk to my career, but honestly it was the best thing I could have done.

    They brought in a specialist who knew loads about my condition which meant I didn't have to explain it all over again, so instead we really focused on what I was finding hard. It was the specialist's opinion that I was entirely fit to do my job but a series of poor management decisions were impacting my mental health! The school is now aware of the triggers and has had to put things in place to support me (basically, start listening to me). It's no coincidence that since the referral, I've been so much more well. I've had a few times when I've had to say "Excuse me, but my OccHealth report says..." but I've let my excellent line manager fight those battles for me.

    It was in all a positive experience and generated a really powerful outcome for me. If anything, I feel more protected and safe in my job now the school has been told about its clear responsibility to protect my mental health, which shows how unfounded my fears about the process were. I'd say give it a go.

    Best wishes
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Go for it!

    I haven't heard anything about OH that has been other than positive! From lots of contributors here so that represents quite a range.

    Get in there ASAP. Don't hesitate.

    Anorexia. I had that in my late 20s and early 30s. People do seem to think it's only a feature of adolescence. It isn't.

    Luckily I just completely burned myself out and couldn't do it any more. I remember curling up on the floor and thinking, "I give up."

    But I am quite good at failure and giving up and not minding too much. Well, I am good at reconciling myself to failure.

    Weird, isn't it. What we see as failure to control our eating and impose discipline upon ourselves is actually a health success. I had had no periods for years. Whilst wondering why I was infertile. Sounds daft now.

    Anyhow. TMI. Go to OH.
  7. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    My ex head teacher had a daughter who battled with that too. Wonder if we were at the same school ☺️I remember that she was a very understanding head and was always really supportive with my stress/anxiety. Glad you have the support and remember you can get through this. I struggled for many years with this and it wasted some of my life. I found going to the gym, seeing my body change positively, building positive weight gain, was the only thing that made me feel different. I changed and was more interested in my abs than the scale. This issue is close to my heart so please keep in touch or PM me. It is a really nasty illness that takes over. It’s like being brainwashed and you don’t see the reality anymore. If you are looking for an evening appointment that might be harder. Have you spoken to them about getting a day time appointment and also asking your head? There are more spaces for day time appointments.Xxxxx
    thistledoo and bob_the_tom8to like this.
  8. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    You can always request that any information relayed to the school from the OH is read/okayed by you first; this way you are in control of what the school knows.

    I personally would prefer support away from the school, but if this is the only immediate option, then proceed with the caveat above and good luck.

    bob_the_tom8to likes this.
  9. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    Yes, Cat is right: I had to approve the report before it was released to the school. I also okyed the initial referral form - asked for some things to be taken out because I didn't agree with them.
    bob_the_tom8to likes this.
  10. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    My colleague has gone through o/health for bereavement counselling and all been positive.
    thistledoo and bob_the_tom8to like this.
  11. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    Thank you for saying that I'm strong to ask for help. I appreciate that. I've never heard of sickness insurance before. We are an academy - do you think we might still have it? I don't mind what my headteacher knows as I trust her completely... it's the rest of the staff and the SLT that I would rather didn't know. Would they need to know that I'd been referred to occupational health for mental health? Thank you x
  12. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. That is so reassuring. Your reply has really helped me to see the possibility of a positive outcome if I decide to go for it. I'm really glad to hear it was a good process for you. Thanks again x
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I am sure that OH work under the same confidentiality agreements as medics. Just stress at the outset that it's vital that this remains between you and OH and the HT.

    I haven't heard of OH ever embarrassing anyone by spilling the beans.

    I understand why you don't want this to get about but it's all part of your control problems. If I could get you to lighten up about it just by asking you to "let it go" then you'd doubtless not be in quite such a pickle as you are. But remember this. If people knew? It wouldn't be the end of the world. Plus they are already bound to guess something of that nature is amiss. You'd be surprised.

    The fact that you're prepared to get help is a big plus. I was in denial for a couple of years. Proud of it! In a warped sort of way. Recognition that you're in trouble is the first step so onwards and upwards!
    thistledoo and bob_the_tom8to like this.
  14. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    Thank you for sharing that everything you've heard about OH has been positive. That's really good to hear.

    I'm sorry to hear you have battled anorexia. For me, it's a relapse - bulimia when I'm on my own and days of quite extreme restricting when I'm at work. I've lost a considerable amount of weight since having my daughter a year ago. Every day is a challenge.

    I hope you have recovered fully. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Xxx
  15. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Thank you. Yes, I had my melt-down and that was the turning point. I usually have something going on. Hand-washing. OCD. But I have taken fluoxetine for years now and that makes me much more mellow. These things don't take over and I can rationalise. You know the saying - takes the edge off.

    If you're prepared to talk about it then maybe you're reaching rock bottom.

    You're not alone. Don't feel judged. It's one of those things. Maybe it will come and go but it needs to be better than it is now. Bulimia. Tooth enamel! Get an appointment and let us know how it goes. If you've a mind to.
    bob_the_tom8to likes this.
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The employee counselling and support isn't usually part of sickness insurance, it's a standalone service schools can subscribe to for their staff. If your school buys it they should have made details of it available to all staff,

    This is an example, there are many other providers that schools can buy it from.

    bob_the_tom8to likes this.
  17. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    Thank you for your kind words. I've never heard of the teacher support network. What do they do? Thank you x
  18. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and I'm so sorry that you have battled this too. I will PM you. Thank you x
  19. bob_the_tom8to

    bob_the_tom8to New commenter

    I know the feeling. I've been there with OCD and hand washing is a bit of an issue for me at the moment too. Thanks for the advice. My doctor is very much involved and doing her best to help :) x
  20. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    It's now called the Education Support Network - take a look at the "Tough day? We're listening." thread near the top of this forum.

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