Off with stress - referred to OH, what happens?(8 Posts)
So due to enough stress in my life to fell just about anyone, I broke down at work in front of my manager and got sent home. I was then signed off sick with stress (I've never been off sick but manager was adamant I needed help).
I was told to call the employee counselling line but they refused to offer me anything - they felt my issues were beyond their remit/capabilities.
So my manager has now said I need to go and see her on Monday to complete a referral to Occupational Health so that I can get help.
Does anyone know what this involves or can lead to?
I have a long history of mental health issues but have never taken time off work - I've worked through bulimia, PTSD, self harm etc. But it's never affected my work. I compartmentalise it. I once took an overdose and went back to work the next morning (I know this doesn't sound ideal! I wouldn't do that now).
I guess I'm kind of scared. After all these years of acting and putting on a brave face I'm worried they will see through me.
Sorry to hear you're unwell Tedster. It sounds like this has been building up, but it also sounds like your manager is being supportive.
OH are basically medical professionals with an occupational understanding. They will provide advice and support for you, as well as recommendations and advice to the organisation to help you.
I'm in HR and have always utilised an independent OH advisor / nurse to support mental health. Sometimes support from the employee's GP is poor and the employee may not be helping themselves (denial of the situation), so OH support is useful to help the employee get themselves better.
Whatever is in their report to the company can be reviewed before it is sent; and they do have to be mindful of patient confidentiality too. If you say something that isn't relevant to the company, they can summarise it and/or provide less detail than needed.
I know you're trying to be brave but perhaps keeping these feelings in has made you unwell? I'd really recommend talking to OH and see what they say.
Go easy on yourself
Thank you that's very helpful and yes you are correct - too many years of 'carrying on regardless' has probably caused this!
I will definitely meet them.
Do meet OH. They are there to support you. Quite often they are not part of your org so won't pressure you from that side.
I was recently off sick for work related stress. I was able to offload to OH about work because they understood the environment. They referred me to independent counsellers and offered numerous other therapies eg massages etc. I only did the counselling though.
They were able to almost act as a go between with me and work and reduced the need for me to update work.
As I was engaging with OH whilst off, it meant they fed back to my manager and I didn't need to so much which was good as it was my manager who was the issue.
Lovely to hear you've also had a good experience @GertiesEyebrow
People can be skeptical of OH but you've hit the nail on the head that they can be the "go between". You have to remember Managers aren't trained counsellors in mental health & often say or do the wrong things, not out of malice but just not knowing what to say. OH can be such a good support, bearing in mind if they recommend something, organisations more or less have to do it (ie. counselling etc) so you can get private support instead of NHS (with a lengthy waiting list). We recently supported an employee and within 6 weeks they'd had CBT sessions and made a full recovery from a very dark place. The waiting list alone was 10 weeks on the NHS - and yet the OH report recommendation to have CHT allowed me (HR) to push the business case forward to support the individual by paying for the private CBT.
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