LinkedIn

Employment services for people with bipolar disorder

Finding meaningful work is an important step for people with bipolar disorder. Work can bring structure to a person’s life and assist in stabilising mood swings for people with bipolar disorder. The first step is to decide what job to build into a successful career. At EPIC, we’re focused on helping people with bipolar disorder discover what job they’d like and what they need to do to get there.

Preparing for the right job

Some jobs will trigger bipolar symptoms and are better avoided. For people with bipolar disorder, it is important to find a job that doesn’t trigger symptoms. Ideal jobs may include daytime work and a flexible schedule. People with bipolar disorder should avoid shift work. People with bipolar disorder may find working in a relaxed job in a creative environment more satisfying.

Work provides people with bipolar disorder with social interaction, greater financial independence, confidence and a sense of freedom. It may also provide structure to people with bipolar disorder which assists in managing their lifestyle. Having a good lifestyle structure allows people to take greater control over bipolar disorder symptoms.

Getting work-ready

Developing a plan to manage symptoms and balance mood is an important step for people with bipolar disorder to get job-ready.

Our team at EPIC is committed to helping people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms. In addition to our Employment Consultants who work closely with our job seekers, we have a passionate team of Mental Health Consultants who are trained to support people with bipolar disorder.

Recognising symptoms as they develop will allow a person to take action to prevent symptoms becoming full episodes of mania or depression. Because no two people will experience the same signs and symptoms, it is important that people with bipolar disorder recognise their own signs and symptoms. A mood journal can be a useful tool to catalogue feelings to recognise bipolar symptoms.

A good strategy to manage symptoms of mania or depression should contain coping skills and activities to manage a stable mood or tactics to get better. The strategy should include ways to reduce stress which can occur when symptoms start to develop.

People with bipolar disorder may find staying in good health an important strategy in managing their symptoms. These tips for good health may be useful for someone with bipolar disorder:

  • take medication as prescribed
  • stay in contact with your doctor or therapist
  • eat a healthy diet
  • exercise regularly
  • sleep for a minimum of eight hours each night
  • reduce the intake of sugar, caffeine and alcohol
Nathan stands in front of trees
Nathan started work earlier this year at Booyong in a ground maintenance role

Developing interview confidence

Once a person with bipolar disorder has put a strategy in place to manage bipolar symptoms and be work-ready, the next step is to develop confidence for job interviews. Getting an interview is definitely a reason to be excited but it may also bring on other emotions.

It may bring feelings of stress which is usually a trigger for episodes, this stress may come before or during the interview. Interview preparation for people with bipolar disorder is all about managing stress levels. The good news is that this interview preparation will also make them a strong contender for the job.

Research

Being prepared is the key to performing in an interview for people with bipolar disorder. Conducting research makes a person a strong candidate for a job. People with bipolar disorder will also find researching the job and company increases their confidence, and as a result reduces stress.

Dress for success

The better dressed you are for the interview, the more confident you’ll likely feel. Always aim to be better dressed than those interviewing you. Wear a clean and professional outfit. This confidence should lessen the stress symptoms for people with bipolar disorder.

Hydrate

Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which is the source of the flight or fight response. Perfect for someone to deal with the stressful situation of running away from a tiger, but not sitting across from a panel of three interviewers. Adrenaline also re-routes metabolic energy from the digestive tract which can leave a person with a dry mouth, making it quite hard to talk during an interview.

Therefore, leave the caffeine alone, and take up the offer for water when offered before or during the interview.

On the job support

With the correct management and support in place, people with bipolar disorder can lead highly successful careers. Keeping the strategy for bipolar symptoms up-to-date will be key throughout the person’s career.

As a person with bipolar disorder may experience a change in their symptoms over time, it is important to keep the strategy for bipolar symptoms up to date so it is relevant to prevent full-episodes from developing.

Our dedicated team at EPIC are always just a phone call away. We understand everyone is an individual with specific situations and we’ll take the time to find out what tactics and strategies will work best for each person with bipolar disorder.

Our approach

We work alongside people with bipolar disorder to discover their interests, strengths and abilities. We also identify any skills gaps and training courses to help people with depression reach their employment goals.

It is estimated that almost one in two Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, and in any given year there are around one million people with depression. Mental health touches so many lives and is a big part of the employment journey, which is why we invest in a specialised mental health support program for job seekers. Our Mental Health Consultants have expertise in mental health therapeutic approaches and employment services, and can support people with depression to develop practical skills and strategies to better manage their mental health.

People with bipolar disorder can come to EPIC in several ways:

  • Through Centrelink, where they choose EPIC as their Disability Employment Services provider
  • By self-referring, which means they come straight to us and don’t go to Centrelink first
  • Undertaking job preparation activities through School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) with their NDIS plan if they are a school student or school leaver in Tasmania.

We know what it takes to help a person with bipolar disorder find a job they love. If you would like to find out more about our services, contact us today.

Mateship, sustainability and inclusiveness the perfect brew for Richard

Christen McGarry, Head of Production at Your Mates Brewing Company, was looking for extra hands for the continually growing packaging side of the business and connected with EPIC to help fulfil the role.

Richard, an artist with an obvious sense of humour, fit the bill and started work in November 2019.