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Guest Blog: LikeMind's Francesca Fidanza

In the first in a series of Guest Blogs, we invited Francesca Fidanza from LikeMind to share some thoughts on the importance of employment for people with a mental health condition including anxiety.

Francesca is the Intake and Assessment Clinician for LikeMind and holds a degree in Social Science from the Australian Catholic University.

LikeMind (Uniting) appointed Global Skills as their Vocational Consortium partner for their Seven Hills and Penrith offices in 2016.

It provides support to adults with mental health concerns, as well as their families and carers, bringing together existing community services to one accessible and engaging community space to develop an integrated service hub of co-located help and support.

“Employment is very important to our consumers who really struggle to connect with others because of their anxiety.

“While there is always an element of anxiety in any job we know that a job provides our consumers with the opportunity to practice techniques and strategies to adapt to different environments and reduce the impact that their anxiety has on their ability to work.

“It gives them structure and routine which can be very grounding to a person with a mental health condition. The longer a person stays in a job the more they can practice the role and become more professional. Progression can be very satisfying and rewarding, and it can be done slowly…at your own pace.

“When we see consumers who do not have a structure it can lead to uncertainty about their future, which impacts on their already fragile mental health.

“This is where having a support network like LikeMind, Global Skills and other community networks is really valuable. We work on moving our consumers away from the black-and-white thinking of ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I can’t explain myself properly’ to a more positive mindset and self-awareness.

“There is no perfect job for someone with anxiety but being aware of how the workplace might affect their mental health, asking the right questions before they take a job, and ensuring the job matches their interests and values is a strong start to success in employment.”

To learn more about LikeMind and their services please click here.