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7 Easy Tips for Getting Back to Work with A Mental Health Condition

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“Getting back to work” refers to the process of returning to employment after a mental health episode. It involves re-entering the workforce while managing and addressing mental health challenges. This journey is often characterized by unique obstacles and opportunities for growth. The tips provided in this context are versatile, applicable to individuals who have prior work experience and those who are seeking their first job.

They offer a structured approach to help individuals rebuild their professional lives while safeguarding their mental well-being. Whether you’re resuming work after a mental health setback or embarking on your career for the first time, these strategies can serve as a valuable guide to success, fostering personal growth and independence in the world of work.

Tip 1: Identify Your Unique Contribution

Having a personal mission statement is a foundational step when re-entering the workforce after a mental health episode. It’s a guiding compass that helps you navigate your career path with purpose and clarity. A personal mission statement is a brief declaration of your core values, your passions, and what you aim to achieve in your professional life. It answers the fundamental questions of what kind of work you want to do and how you plan to go about it.

The importance of having a personal mission statement cannot be overstated. It provides a sense of direction, motivating you to pursue work that aligns with your values and aspirations. It helps you avoid making decisions solely based on external factors, such as financial gain or societal expectations. Instead, it empowers you to choose a career that resonates with your true self.

For example, a personal mission statement could be, “To empower others through my creativity and problem-solving skills, contributing to a more sustainable and compassionate world.” This statement reflects a commitment to making a positive impact in a way that’s personally meaningful.

Tip 2: Take Baby Steps

Embarking on the journey of re-entering the workforce after a mental health episode can be an overwhelming endeavour. The prospect of diving headfirst into job hunting and career building may seem like an insurmountable challenge. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that it’s okay to start small and take baby steps on this path.

One of the key principles to remember is that every little effort counts. You can begin by creating a LinkedIn profile, a relatively manageable task, especially in our digital age. Setting up job alerts on LinkedIn is another baby step that allows you to stay informed about opportunities aligned with your interests and qualifications.

Breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps is a valuable strategy. For instance, if crafting a resume feels daunting, you can start by outlining your key skills, experiences, and achievements in separate sections before merging them into a complete document.

As an example of the power of taking baby steps, consider volunteering. It’s an excellent way to assess your abilities, handle workplace stress, gain confidence, and determine what type of employment is sustainable for you.

Tip 3: Ramp Up Your Job-Seeking Skills

In today’s competitive job market, ramping up your job-seeking skills is crucial, especially when you’re returning to work after a mental health episode. One indispensable tool in your job-seeking arsenal is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for job seekers, as recruiters advertise a significant percentage of job openings on the site. It offers a unique opportunity to network with potential employers and tap into the hidden job market. You can see how you’re connected to individuals who have posted job openings, enabling you to reach out to the employer through a mutual contact. This approach not only enhances your chances of being noticed but also personalizes your job application process, making it more likely to yield positive results.

However, don’t neglect the importance of a well-crafted resume and cover letter. Even in the digital age, these documents remain essential. They serve as your first impression, and a professional, tailored resume and cover letter can set you apart from the competition.

Tip 4: Progress Through the Cashflow Quadrants

Robert Kiyosaki’s concept of the Cashflow Quadrants is a valuable framework for anyone seeking to re-enter the workforce after a mental health episode. It provides a strategic perspective on building a career and financial well-being.

Categories of Cashflow Quadrants

Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrants are divided into four distinct categories

Employee: Most people begin their journey as employees. This quadrant represents individuals who work for someone else and typically exchange time for a pay check.

Self-Employed: Here, individuals work for themselves, such as freelancers or small business owners. They have more control over their work but are often tied to trading time for money, which can limit wealth creation.

Investor: The final quadrant represents individuals who invest their money in various ventures, allowing their assets to generate income. In this quadrant, money works for them.

Understanding the Cashflow Quadrants is beneficial for developing a career strategy. It encourages individuals to view employment not merely as a means to earn money but as an opportunity to acquire valuable skills. Instead of choosing a job for life, one should select a job that provides a platform for learning and skill development. This allows you to move progressively through the quadrants.

Tip 5: Work Harder Than Anyone Else

Brian Tracy’s advice to start an hour earlier and finish an hour later is a compelling strategy for those looking to re-enter the workforce after a mental health episode. This approach is rooted in the concept of adding value to your employer, a fundamental principle for career success.

Starting an hour earlier and finishing later can provide you with additional, focused time to contribute more to your job. By dedicating this extra time to tasks and projects that benefit your employer, you showcase your dedication and work ethic. Your employer may not always be aware of these extra efforts, but the added value you bring is bound to be noticed and rewarded in the long run.

Adding value is a key factor in career advancement. It is about going the extra mile, delivering results that surpass expectations, and continually seeking opportunities for improvement. It’s important to remember that this approach, although valuable, should be moderated, especially for individuals dealing with mental health issues.

Tip 6: Tap Into the Supports Available

Returning to work after a mental health episode can be a challenging endeavour, but it’s crucial to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. One of the best things you can do is to tap into the various supports available to you.

First and foremost, reaching out to mental health services is a vital step. Mental health professionals can offer guidance, therapy, and coping strategies to help you manage your condition and build resilience in the workplace. Their expertise can be invaluable as you navigate the transition back to work.

For those who are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), it’s important to explore the supports and funding it provides. The NDIS is designed to assist individuals with disabilities, including mental health conditions, in gaining employment and maintaining their job once they’ve returned to work. These supports can range from job coaching and skill development to financial assistance.

However, the most crucial aspect of tapping into supports is understanding that it’s perfectly okay to ask for help. Seeking assistance is a sign of strength and self-awareness. It doesn’t signify weakness; it indicates your commitment to your own well-being and professional success. Don’t hesitate to lean on the resources available to you, whether it’s from mental health services, government programs like the NDIS, or a support network of friends and family. By acknowledging that help is needed and actively seeking it, you’re taking a proactive step toward a successful re-entry into the workforce after a mental health episode.

Tip 7: Gain Independence Then Master Interdependence

Independence and interdependence are essential stages in personal and professional growth, particularly when managing a mental health issue.

Independence means being self-reliant and capable of handling everyday challenges on your own. This includes managing your mental health, seeking resources, and making decisions autonomously. Becoming independent is a crucial step when dealing with a mental health issue because it allows you to take charge of your recovery. Self-reliance helps reduce the reliance on external support systems and fosters a sense of self-empowerment.

Interdependence, on the other hand, involves achieving more with others than you can on your own. You maintain your support networks and collaborate with them to create a safe and healthy workplace. Interdependence allows you to tap into various resources, including mental health services, co-workers, friends, and family, to help manage your mental health challenges. It’s a valuable strategy for not only sustaining employment but also ensuring long-term well-being.

To tap into supports for interdependence, connect with mental health services, support groups, and relevant professionals. Leverage the strengths and expertise of your network to build a system of support that suits your specific needs. Regularly communicating with your support system can help you stay on track and manage your mental health effectively.


Returning to work after a mental health episode is not only possible but also an opportunity for personal growth and fulfilment. The tips presented here offer a structured and comprehensive approach to this journey. By defining your unique mission, taking measured steps, enhancing your job-seeking skills, progressing through the Cashflow Quadrants, working with dedication, and tapping into the available supports, you can create a path towards professional success and mental well-being.

Remember, it’s essential to focus on self-care, balance, and seeking help when needed. You don’t have to face this challenge alone; there are resources and support systems to assist you. With resilience, self-awareness, and a commitment to your own growth, you can successfully navigate the path back to work and, ultimately, thrive in your career while managing your mental health effectively.

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