Mental health takeover: Norwich woman says ‘learn to trust your instincts’ when it comes to mental ill health

Kimberly Myhill has been supported by her employer Equal Lives, but new research shows many people a

Kimberly Myhill has been supported by her employer Equal Lives, but new research shows many people are afraid they will not get the same help from their own bosses. Picture: Kimberly Myhill. - Credit: Archant

Kimberly Myhill, 27, has had depression for as long as she can remember, but was not diagnosed until she was 22.

The illness led to her losing jobs when employers did not recognise mental health issues as a genuine illness, and last year she tried to take her own life.

She said: 'I didn't seek medical help until I was 22, and on and off I have always had issues with sleep, been on and off various medications and problems with drugs and alcohol.

'I have lost jobs due to being sacked by employers who do not consider mental health issues a genuine sickness. I have literally had bosses and employers tell me I just need to 'sort my life out'.'

Kimberly said she used to cover up her illness and try and blame physical things. 'I always saw myself as a screw up, someone who just wouldn't get better and someone who brought these feelings onto myself,' she said.

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'When I was 23 I lost one of my closest friends to suicide. This was a huge loss and something I found extremely difficult to cope with. I had attempted in the past myself and it was a bit of a wake-up call. Why can't we just talk about it? Why is such shame associated with mental health?'

Kimberly started working for Equal Lives when she was 26 and was off sick for four months with her most recent bout of depression.

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She said: '2016 was the worst relapse I have ever had, and I attempted suicide in the July.

'My manager at the time Sarah, who was and still is an incredible friend and supportive force, really helped to get me back on track. She kept in touch while I was off, we agreed a phased return in hours and lighter duties until I was ready to be back at work properly.

'She asked me questions that no one had ever asked, and answering her made me realise how unwell I had really been over the years. I was able to have a frank and open conversation that has ultimately led to my recovery.'

Now, Kimberly has been back at work for nearly a year and has increased her hours to full time.

She said: 'You have to be prepared to be honest to get the best results for yourself. Learn to trust your instincts.'

• For more from the EDP's mental health takeover special edition, click here.

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