EPIC participants manage their mental health in the workplace

Thursday, 12 October 2023

The topic of mental health is one that often provokes mixed feelings. Perhaps it’s guilt, that you haven’t really prioritised yourself in a while or taken the time to sit down and take things slow. Maybe it’s one of anxiety; you’ve taken the time to prioritize yourself and in doing so realised you’re not holding up as well as you thought you were.

Whatever the situation, you’re always resolving that you should take the step to make mental health a priority—in regard to both yourself and the world around you.

This October, it’s Mental Health Month. And at EPIC Assist, we know better than anyone just how huge of a role your mental health plays in your success and well-being both in and out of the workplace.

We’ve supported countless job seekers over the years, working with them in managing and developing strategies for them to stay on top of their mental health.

And in the past year, we’ve chatted with several of our participants and heard them speak of their mental health journey when they were starting fresh into their new job. We believe their stories can help shine a light on how to manage your mental health in the workplace.


A few months ago, Ethan celebrated one year of working at Woolworths Hinkler in Bundaberg.

Starting out as very shy and reserved, Ethan was attending his fortnightly EPIC Assist meetings with his eyes down and phone in hand.

Ethan was dependant on the support of his Mum and didn’t engage in his meetings. His consultant, Mandy-Lee, was determined to change that. She decided to try and tap into his competitive side to bring him out of his shell by playing some cards with him.

It was like a light switch. After a loss, Ethan sat upright in his chair and began to focus. A few weeks passed and Ethan would come alone to his meetings, with his Mum waiting in the car.

After Mandy-Lee used similar strategies to build up Ethan’s confidence in himself, she organised a work trial for a night fill at Woolworths.

“He was scared and anxious. We were all unsure if he would turn up. But I met him there and he rocked it!”

Woolworths made the effort to accommodate for Ethan’s nerves and anxiety, allowing him to keep his cap on while working – helping him feel more safe and comfortable.

Fast forward to today and Ethan is a valued part of the Woollies team and has a slot right into the team festivities. If you didn’t know any better, you would think the young worker waltzed into the store on his first day without a care in the world.

Mandy-Lee couldn’t be more chuffed at how far his attitude and mental health has improved in just eighteen short months.

“This young man inspires me to do what I do every day. I am so proud of him.”

Ethan standing with the stock at Woolworths Bundaberg
Ethan standing by the stock at Woolworths Hinkler.


The process of maintaining your mental health can be made a whole lot less complicated if you have a strong foundation of a regular routine.

For a lot of people, employment is the core of that routine. And as it turned out, it’s exactly what Nathan needed.

Before work, Nathan was struggling to find purpose and drive in his life. Everything felt out of his control. Fast forward to today and Nathan is a valued part of the Deli Café team in Bundaberg.

He spends his time preparing food, running the till, and making coffee – all major milestones that he’s proud to have reached, as it’s his first official job!

“Work gives me a routine, something to do every morning when I wake up. And it just helps me find real stability in life,” Nathan explained.

“EPIC has helped me out with my mental illnesses and my disabilities. They don’t tend to view me as just another number, they view me as a person with feelings and emotions.”

He left us with some final words about his new employment.

“The support system at EPIC is like no other, it’s somewhere where you’ll get exactly what you’ll need. And no less.”

Nathan standing with the rest of his Deli Cafe team and his Employment Consultant Mandy-Lee
Nathan with the Deli Cafe team and his Employment Consultant Mandy-Lee


When we get into a funk and feel trapped in a bad period, it can feel like we have the whole world against us. This was a state that Ben was all too familiar with. He’d been struggling a lot with his anxiety and substance abuse. He’s quick to admit drugs and alcohol were “a big part of his life.”

For a while, he felt stuck in a period of career trial and error, figuring out that carpentry, labouring, and other similar jobs weren’t for him after giving them a go. A feeling of dread that had been hanging over him was slowly but surely closing in. “What if I’m just not cut out for work?” Ben would secretly ask himself.

It was at this point that Ben recognised he needed help and thought of looking for some employment assistance. After doing some research, he discovered an organisation called EPIC Assist, and after some thought, decided to just give them a go!

Before long Ben had started his new truck driving and berry manufacturing job at My Berries. He was picking up the work quick but realised that there were so many situations where he was unsure of what to do or how to act. In these moments, he had to depend on the kindness of support and those around him.

After realising just how much of an impact this treatment has had on him, Ben made an effort to spread positivity to those around him, always offering a kind smile and helping hand to those around him.

It’s that connection with his coworkers and his confidence in the safety of his environment that ensured Ben was able to succeed in the workplace.

“I just really appreciate having this job and people that understand me and tell me that I’m doing all right. I’m part of a family now.”

Ben in his truck, giving us his signature smile and a thumbs up.
Ben giving us a thumbs up on his way to grab some berries.


Lachlan is the local Dungeon Master, barista, and resident game wizard at a gaming café in the heart of Ipswich. Not surprisingly, Lachlan’s journey to employment here started with a board game.

“I was playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons with some of my friends, and they mentioned there was a new game store opening,” he said.

Following a quick interview, Lachlan soon joined the team at the games café, but it wasn’t long before he had to step way to look after his mental health.

“I ended up going to the hospital for a period. For whatever reason, the medication I was on just wasn’t working,” he said.

During his stay in the hospital, Lachlan’s medication was balanced, and he was finally given a formal diagnosis of autism.

It was important for Lachlan’s employer, Trevor, that the team was always there to support Lachlan through his treatment and recovery. Trevor is proud of the inclusive and diverse business he has built for him the wellbeing of his staff and customers comes first.

“Lachlan has had a long journey with us. We were supportive in the sense that we gave him as much time as he needed,” he said.

When Lachlan was in the right mindset again and was moving forward with his life, he rejoined the team in a new role created just for him. Lachlan and the team at EPIC Ipswich have not looked back since.

Lachlan smiles in front of a wall of board and card games.
Lachlan at the gaming cafe

This October, your mental health matters.

EPIC have assisted a wide range of individuals in not only managing but prioritising their mental health so they can get the most out of their employment and their life as a whole.

Ethan conquering his fears, Nathan’s newfound support system, Ben’s workplace discovery, and finally Lachlan’s confidence to move forward are only a few of the many examples.

We encourage you to read the full stories of each individual mentioned if you want a complete understanding of their journey.

This mental health month, draw inspiration from our hardworking participants and make an effort to prioritise your mental health this October. It’s never too late to have that conversation with yourself!

Our hardworking team at EPIC Assist will continue to support our participants and give them the fulfillment, direction, support, and confidence they need to flourish in the workplace.

We know just how important this professional support network is on your journey to success. When you engage with EPIC Assist, you can access our free mental health consultancy. Our expert mental health consultants can assist in developing strategies to manage your mental health during both the job-seeking and employment process.

If you, like our participants mentioned, are considering employment and also need some help managing your mental health, get in touch with EPIC Assist today.

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