Until recently, Emma received ESA as she suffers from depression and anxiety. This was stopped by the DWP who deemed her fit for work, a decision Emma disagreed with and which affected her mental health further. She became very withdrawn, tearful, stopped taking care of herself and stopped attending to her mail. She kept in regular contact with her GP who she had a good relationship with. Her GP referred her to the TPA for assistance around her financial situation and building up her confidence to deal with everyday life.
On first meeting with us, Emma was not very optimistic that her situation would improve. She felt that the withdrawal of ESA was something that had been “done to her” and that she was being “forced” back into work. She continued to avoid opening her post which made her situation worse with regards to paying bills and she was getting into debt. This was also adding to her deteriorating mental health and sense of hopelessness.
Firstly, we looked at the strengths that Emma already has, with a view to building on this:
Emma has a secure tenancy, Stockport Homes is her landlord she has lived in the property for 5 years. She also has a very good relationship with her GP who is very supportive. She has a few friends who are also supportive. Emma has a faith and praying is a protective factor. She used to work as a Special Needs Teaching Assistance and has a lot of experience in this field.
As a priority, Emma wanted to attend to her financial situation – she wanted assistance to appeal the DWP’s decision to stop her ESA claim. She also wanted assistance to attend to bills and debt. She also wanted to improve her mental health.
We helped her appeal the withdrawal of ESA, but were unfortunately unsuccessful in this. We then helped her to apply for Universal Credit. As debt was a priority, a lot of assistance was given to get in touch with utilities and creditors to arrange payment plans.
Due to Emma’s poor mental health The Job Centre have been very patient with her and encouraging her to engage in mental health services. Emma has accessed the Expert Patient Programme and was also referred to The Paris Scheme (exercise referral scheme overseen by Stockport’s Life Leisure) via her GP. Her financial situation is now stable and debts are manageable. She is now more motivated to think about getting back into work and out of the benefits system.
She continues to work on her physical and mental health via The Paris Scheme and will soon be starting a job as a carer for a friend’s disabled son and has put in a claim for Carer’s Allowance. Emma is happy with the progress she has made and her mental health has greatly improved.
*We have changed her name