When Dan went through a divorce, he lost his business, his home and his confidence.
“I was hitting rock bottom and didn’t want a bar of life,” he says.
Before his divorce, Dan had been working as a chef and owned his own cafe.
He says the role had given him strong people skills, but after his divorce he was no longer comfortable interacting with people.
Dan wasn’t aware at the time that he was suffering from depression and anxiety.
For those living with depression and anxiety, it can be difficult to find work and manage in the workplace.
Lack of motivation, excess worry, fatigue and other depression and anxiety symptoms can make daily activities challenging.
Like many others, Dan’s symptoms impacted his day to day life, including his ability to work - particularly in his high pressure role in the kitchen.
‘My confidence level dropped. I was breaking down very often and falling into tears quite a lot,’ Dan says.
It was difficult for him to see a way forward finding another job as a chef.
At the time, Dan was receiving payments from Centrelink. After an employment assessment, they put him in touch with APM.
Going to his local APM office, Dan didn’t know what to expect.
At APM Dan chatted with an Employment Consultant about what he had been going through.
By getting to know his story, APM was able to assess his condition and Dan realised he had been suffering from depression and anxiety.
For Dan, being able to talk openly with APM about his situation helped him feel more confident about his next steps towards employment.
"They cared about what I had to say and it made a big difference," he says.
APM worked closely with Dan to help him manage his mental health issues and build his confidence about finding employment.
After a short time, APM was able to help Dan find a job working for a local butcher.
Dan’s new job gave him a fresh outlook on life and helped him rebuild his confidence.
Experts say work can be beneficial for people living with depression and anxiety.
In addition to increasing financial security, a job can create a sense of purpose, meaning and accomplishment.
This has been true for Dan. Working in a supportive environment has hugely improved his mental wellbeing and his confidence.
He says he enjoys the work and can go home feeling proud for accomplishing something each day.
Dan’s boss and colleagues have also noticed a change since they first met him.
They say Dan is taking on more responsibilities and is motivated to do his best in the job. He has also come out of his shell socially and enjoys interacting with the customers.
“Once I got the past out of my head, I was on fire after that,” Dan says.
Dan’s story of struggling to find work is more common than people may realise.
Almost half the Australian population experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime and many of them also struggle to find or keep a job.
In Australia a person with an injury, illness or disability is around twice as likely to experience unemployment and graduates with disability take almost 62% longer to gain full time employment.
Like Dan, many people find searching for work while navigating the challenges of their condition to be difficult and discouraging.
The help and support Dan received from APM gave him the tools he needed to find work and gain a new outlook on life.
The Disability Employment Services program is a Government initiative helping thousands of Australians who are living with injury, illness or disability find meaningful work.
The Disability Employment Services (DES) program helps people like Dan find meaningful work and supports many others to manage in the workplace so that they can continue working.
The program is delivered by organisations like APM and is available to people living with injury, illness or disability.
This includes people like Dan who are living with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety.
Through this Employment Services program, eligible people can access support to find employment as well as support to stay employed.
Up to date, APM has assisted over 45,000 people with injury, illness or disability find employment.
Find out if you’re eligible for the Disability Employment Services program by registering with APM today.