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"Coaching Interactive has been an almost mind-blowing experience for me! The possibilities for self advancement and goal attainment are endless - I’m being challenged daily, but am in control of the process. I am thrilled to be changing my life in this way and absolutely thrive on the support and input from my personal coach. It’s amazing!"

Annie Watsham

Case Study - Bipolar Disorder

Help With Bipolar Disorder - Gary's Story

Gary Bell is an illustrator and artist from Hartlepool. He has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

"After a period of illness, my medication regime improved and although some of the side-effects for the treatment of a psychotic disorder such as bipolar can be particularly nauseating, things did start to get better.

"Things improved so much that I elected to "grab the bull by the horns" again and get back into real, paid employment again.

"My Employment Link worker arranged for an interview with Work Route in Hartlepool. This is a council-led initiative that helps people with barriers to employment to get back into the workplace. Being a professionally trained and qualified illustrator, who had previously specialised in magazine work, I thought that I would like to try my luck at a paid art tutor position.

"With the help and support of Work Route, I successfully obtained a placement working with adults with special educational needs via a day centre in Hartlepool.

"So: "How did things go?" ... Extremely well, is the answer!

"Although I had many, many deep reservations before diving into this job placement and it did prove to be a baptism of fire and I did end up having to take some sick leave, I nevertheless was able to sustain my employment over the course of 18 months - and not without real success either (i.e. I successfully completed my qualification and produced some fine work with my class).

"This is horribly gushy, I know, but I honestly cannot say enough positive things about how the partnerships that I have developed with the people at Work Route and Employment Link have benefited me career-wise and also, it has to be said, on a deeper therapeutic level. I feel that keeping busy like I have gives me a raison d'etre and actually forces me to face the world and also monitor/look after myself better than I would otherwise have cause to if I were actually just left to my own devices on the sick."

Learning Points

  • By providing the right kind of support and encouragement, you can make a real and lasting difference to the lives of people with experience of mental health problems.
  • Think about how you can help support someone who is returning to work after a period of illness.