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recurring depression and capability

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by groovy15, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. groovy15

    groovy15 New commenter

    I ahve suffrered from depression for years and my school have been made aware of this from the day I started about 10 years ago. Recently, I have had some set backs in my life and also developed post-natal depression whilst on maternity leave. My pregancy was difficult and resulted in me developing pre-eclampsia and I felt very down.
    Since my return to school I have found it hard to cope and have asked for support but my department isn't very nice and have bullied me. I ended up being supported by the crisis team because i had a breakdown but stupidly carried on going to school because I was afriad of the comments people would make! I have had a couple of inadequate lessons when I have had dips in my mood and decided to do something about it by taking part in webinars and redaing and also watching other teachers in my frees. I then managed to reach satisfactory although a lot of the comments were good- and I had to remind them to provide me with feedback! I felt I was making some progress!
    I asked to go to see OHU as I thought they could direct me. I felt very ill and it ws discovered that it was stress because of the job and the depression. A few days later after the report was recieved by school the Head called me in and put me on informal capability. It was said that learning walks were inadequate even though I did not get feedback from the last one- just put on capability! Luckily my union came with me to OHU and are aware of the situation and have asked for the capability to be removed as there are other ways of offering support. OHU also rote that I am covered but the Equalities Act 2010. I am signed off work but too frightened to go back I have heard the gossip in my department about other members of staff and am disgusted but I know I am going to lose my job. I have been told to 'pull myself together' almost because I can't teach properly!!! That is a symtom of depression!

  2. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Do you have any of the comments in writing? I successfully made a case against my last school for discrimination helped by the head being stupid enough to write some offensive comments down. If school have not put any reasonable adjustments in place and do not follow the recommendations of OH then you could possibly put together a case for an employment tribunal if it gets to that stage. Unlike cases of bullying you are in a much stronger position.
    As well as your union ring the Human Rights and Equality Commission. They will be able to offer you advice.
  3. Oh, groovy15, so sorry to hear about your situation. depression is a dreadful thing. I have had periods of depression and it is so hard to tell others exactly how you feel. with me it would decend like a shroud over me- I recognised after many years that this was temporary and I would be Ok given time.It wasnt triggered by anything, suppose it is part of my genetic 'makeup'. Alisatir Campbell spoke so elloquently about his depression on TV and about how 'hush hush' it is regarded- not the done thing to say'hey, everyone, I'm having a downer!" It was fantastic to hear people talking about their experiences with depression, we are not alone. It is so difficult to keep going at times - especially in an environment where you are receiving such dreadful treatment. Oh, by the way, it's national anti bullying day tomorrow- just tell your headteacher!
    I am now stronger in myself, although I do get depression I am able to tell my colleages that I'm 'not good', theyre wonderful and keep me plied in chocolate! Unfortunately our new head is not a sympathetic character. I dont feel I could share this with them, so, it's keep calm and carry on. Not a lot i can do.
    Anyway, in a nutshell, I want to send you my very best wishes and support. You aren't the only one out there in that 'dark place' , cherish your family and yourself. take care chum kate
  4. groovy15

    groovy15 New commenter

    Thank you for the advice everyone. I have been in touch with the equalities commission and they are appalled they say I need to put in a grievance as school have not made any adjustments. I have really tried to carry on but being put down all the time has not helped at all. My union are being very helpful.

    I am not going to make any life-changing decisions yet as I know I am not well enough- even typing this is taking me ages which isn't normal for me!

    Thank you for all your best wishes too- I know thee will be an end to this it is just taking longer than usual.
  5. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Be aware that filing a grievance can actually make things worse. There are certain rules under which you can go straight to a tribunal. As well as union support go and see an employment solicitor that specialises in disability discrimination. Unions tend not to have as much knowledge as it is a speciality.
  6. groovy15

    groovy15 New commenter

    Thanks Torey, I have got in touch with a local firm who do an hour's free advice. I have everything logged!
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Check their reputation. Mine was a legal 500 firm. Also check your household insurance. Although I had the support of my union I wanted the best representation possible and my insurance company paid all my fees. You need to have more than a 51% chance of winning. The legal fees were very high, and my solicitor was fantastic. I didn't take the one offered by the insurance company as the first one was the LEA one and instead I chose a higher rated one. It is a long hard fight, but for me it was worth it.
  8. groovy15

    groovy15 New commenter

    Just been to a meetingluckily with Union rep present. Generally the school have made up a load of rubbish and have no eveidence to back it up and are using mental health problems to say I am not capable. I was of course upset and the union want to see evidence of bullying which I have. However, school keep referring to past bouts of depression to say I am not fit for teaching even though I achieved oustandings in observations during that time. It feels as if they are making stuff up to shove me out I am so angry!!!!!
  9. I can really empathise with how you must be feeling. Bullying is rife in teaching especially in NZ where I am. Your discussion outlines that this is an endemic issue within the education system throughout. You need to do what is right for you though, which I can imagine must be very difficult as you have to find financial security and balance to manage day to day. Hang in there! And if you have to leave for your own peace of mind do it with as much dignity as possible. Seriously consider making a formal complaint though. Teachers can only stop all this rubbish if we actually speak out against all the nepotistic bullying **** that goes on everywhere!!!!!
  10. ...what utter t**ts...your HT and school should hang their heads in shame. Its all too easy to ridicule someone with depression/stress and even easier not to employ support strategies to help them get through it. Remember why you first began teaching, you loved it, was rewarded via pupil progress and that you CAN teach....not a lot people can say that!
    My advice, if you are up to it, is to hang in there as best as possible. HTs like yours should be punched very hard to the ground and lets see how they like it...we are NOT sodding robots...things in life get you down and traumatic events can knock you for six...I was in a similar situation...on top of my scale, doing great, but then a NUMBER of life changing events took their toll and after being pushed out by this T**t of a HT...guess what....I dont have the same amount of money but gee whizz I am a lot happier....some of these people need to learn what humility means...they know the dictionary definition but by golly they dont know how to apply it to real people with real problems...
    ...I hope you sort things out...you know they say time is a great healer....its true time is a great healer but I suspect that time is now...I suggest you get the best advice possible to help you arrive at the solution that best suits you..
  11. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    So sorry to hear you are going through this.
    Clare Collins, on the Governors' forum, has recently posted a link to a booklet on employers' responsibility for the mental health of their employees, which I think you might find very helpful. The thread is here:
    Should you find you need more specialised support than your union is able to give you, I am currently using a lawyer who specialises in supporting people going through the kind of thing you describe. I would be happy to pass on his details and recommend him, should it be helpful.
  12. That would not be effective enough for HTs like that! What they need is to REALLY feel the way teachers with stress/anxiety/depression or other health issues do on a daily basis. I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone, not even my worst enemy but I do think it's a shame that we can't recreate the feelings for these people in the same way that health professionals can recreate certain health conditions by making people wear fat suits or oxygen restricting masks to raise awareness of conditions, such as lung diseases and obesity. I'm almost 100% certain that if bullying or ignorant 'leaders' had to live for even 5 minutes in the sheer hell that was my experience until April this year when my meds finally kicked in properly (and what I experienced is mild compared to other teachers), they wouldn't think twice of a) going off sick immediately b) squawking to all present about how bad they feel and how much staff member x, y or z has upset them with what they've said on a particular day c) ask for the workloads to be reduced immediately because they can't cope. d) sue the pants off anyone who tried to do to them what they do to us (imply we're mad/incapable).

    I agree! Stuff the HoD! Do what's right for you and get all the advice you can to make sure that the school acts according to the law which is definitely on your side, rather than the HT's.

    Good luck!

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