Health conditions and employment

- Thursday, August 04, 2016

Health conditions and employment

Disabled people or those with a long term health condition are more than twice as likely as people without health conditions or disabilities to fall out of work research by the charity Citizen’s Advice has shown this week.

80% of work age people without a disability or health conditions are in employment compared with 53% of those with a disability or health condition and only 36% of those with mental health problems. There are 3.5 million people with a disability or health condition who are out of work, 1.4 million of whom would like a job.

We know that employment is good for us in terms of having a purpose, engaging with others and also earning some money. So if you or someone you know has a disability or health condition and is either worried about keeping a job of finding one, what help and support is out there?

Getting help and support with employment

A good place to start is the National Careers Service website which offers help to choose or change career, skills tests, course searches, job search advice and personalised help from careers advisers

The advice and support previously offered by the Job Centre Plus service is now available through a service called  Universal Jobmatch

If you have mild to moderate stress, anxiety or depression you can self- refer to your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, which is free. Most services have employment advisers who work alongside the therapists.  In Hampshire the service is called italk, in Southampton it’s Steps to Wellbeing, in Portsmouth it’s Talking Change Portsmouth and in Milton Keynes it’s Talk for Change

Options is here to help too

If you or someone you know is struggling with issues that are affecting their ability to get or keep a job, Options is here to help. Our fully-trained, professional team of counsellors are on hand to discuss a variety of problems including stress, depression, anxiety, life changes, relationships, loss and bereavement, and addictions (specialising in alcohol and gambling).

No problem is too big or too small.  Don't hesitate to contact Options and make a change today

Get in touch today via our TwitterFacebook or the contact form on our website.

The Options Team.

Mental Health Awareness: Depression, Stress and Anxiety

- Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Affected by depression, stress or anxiety?

Options is here to help.

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. Worries about money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope, and increase depression, stress and anxiety. These issues can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime.

How can I tell if I'm affected?

There are many signs and symptoms for stress, depression and anxiety - we have listed some of them below. If you or a friend, family member or colleague are suffering from these symptoms don't struggle alone  get in touch today.

What are the symptoms for...


  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Worrying and negative thinking
  • Physical tiredness
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Social withdrawal
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling out of control


  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Lost interest in friends, activities and things you used to enjoy
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in sleep and appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of control over negative thoughts


  • Feeling tense, worried or on edge
  • Anxiety interferes with work, school or your social life
  • Feel irrational fears you cannot get rid of
  • Avoiding activities and situations because of anxiety
  • Sudden and unexpected panic attacks

Do these symptoms affect you?

It's important to remember...

If you, a friend, family member or colleague are affected by depression, stress and anxiety then Options are here to help. Our professional and qualified counsellors are on hand to help with a range of issues including stress, depression and anxiety, as well as:

  • Life Changes
  • Self-esteem and Self-confidence
  • Loss and Bereavement
  • Relationships
  • Addictions
    • Gambling
    • Alcohol
    • Eating Disorders
Just because a problem seems to have little effect on someone else, doesn't mean it can't have a huge impact on your life. We are all affected by various life events in different ways. At Options, no problem is too small.

For more information about depression, stress and anxiety visit the NHS mental health awareness fact sheet.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you or someone you know then contact us today. Tweet us at @options_plus, send us a message via our Facebook page or fill in a contact form on our website. 

The Options Team.

(Information from ISMAAnxiety Help Guide and Depression Help Guide)

SVS Friday Forum

- Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Friday 4th March, some of the Options team attended the monthly 'Friday Forum' hosted by Southampton Voluntary Services at their Kingsland Square office, Southampton.

The Friday Forums are a great way for us to get to know other charitable and voluntary organisations in Southampton and the surrounding areas and find out what they're doing to help the community. They are used to update voluntary organisations on key city issues and developments, and is also a good way for us to stay connected, discuss voluntary sector news and network with colleagues.

This month there was a talk from Laurence Pearce, CEO of XIM and Annie Clewlow, Manager at Communicare, about New Technologies for Supporting Older People. It was interesting for us to learn about the development of cutting edge technology to support older people and how this may affect us now and in the future.

The other session of the day was both interesting and informative and focused on the needs of the Southampton community. Dorota Goble and James Marshall from the Southampton City Council Strategy Unit held a Health and Wellbeing Strategy Consultation.

The Options team were informed of some of the health and wellbeing issues that those in Southampton face, and were tasked with proposing strategies to improve figures.

What did we learn?

What can Options do?

At the end of the session, we were set a number of tasks and we were asked to answer key questions:

  • Can we help Southampton City Council reach more service users?
  • What relevant links and networks do we have?
  • What can we, the voluntary and charitable services in Southampton, need to do together to approach and tackle the future challenges in achieving a healthier city?
Our free problem gambling service and not-for-profit rates other counselling services are  aimed at helping those who are more deprived in Southampton and the surrounding areas.

Our professional and fully qualified counsellors are available to talk about a wide range of issues including:

  • Depression
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Self-Esteem
  • Relationships
  • Life Changes
  • Loss and Bereavement
  • Addictions
    • Alcohol
    • Gambling
    • Eating Disorders

What can you do?

To achieve a healthier and happier Southampton, we need to work together.

STEP 1: Start with yourself
Little changes in your life can go a long way to making you healthier and happier. Parking further away from work and walking more, substituting something unhealthy in your diet for a less-sugary or fatty alternative, taking time out to de-stress, talk to a friend or even do some colouring are simple changes to make in your life that can have a great impact on your health and happiness.

STEP 2: Spread the word.
Now you know all this about what we need to do to change, let other people know! Tweet, Facebook, blog or even just tell your neighbour. The more people that know what problems we are facing and how little changes can make a massive difference, the quicker Southampton will become healthier and happier.

STEP 3: Help someone out.
On your journey to becoming healthier and happier, why not help someone with theirs? Anything from being the shoulder for a friend to cry on, to knowing when you need someone else to help them get better can help someone to becoming healthier and happier.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We know it's a lot of information but it's important that we are aware of these issues and take the time to help overcome them.

The Options Team.