When you’re a parent, you have to deal with anxiety about the future
A father with post-traumatic stress disorder is struggling to keep his kids happy in the face of growing depression and anxiety.
The father of three, who wants to remain anonymous, has been unable to work for almost two years due to anxiety, and said he was “on the verge of collapse”.
His son, who was born two months after his father’s death, is suffering from a learning disability, and has struggled with learning disabilities and ADHD, as well as depression and self-harm.
He said he felt “unable to do anything about my mental health, and that my son was in some way dependent on me” for everything.
“I’ve spent more than £100,000 in a case management programme to try and get my son to get a job,” he said.
“I’ve had to go to court to get them to grant my application for a work permit, because my son had no experience in working.”
Now, I’m trying to do everything I can to keep my son out of trouble.
“The father has struggled to keep the family together in the absence of a work visa for his son.”
We’re at a loss because we have no income,” he told Al Jazeera.”
My son is still very dependent on his mum and dad and is struggling with learning difficulties.
“If my son gets a job, it’s not a problem that’s going to last forever, it could be an issue that’s in the future.”‘
I have to go back to work’The father, who also has an 11-year-old daughter, has tried to stay off social media and to avoid any contact with his son in his condition.
“It’s been hard,” he explained.
“People know my son because of social media, but I have to come back to the office every day and do the same work as my son.
I’ve got to go home to my wife and my daughter.”
He said there was also “some stigma” around mental health issues in the UK, and he feared he would not be able to do his job properly without a visa.
“The whole thing is so complicated, I’ve just got to make sure I keep myself busy and my children’s lives are safe, but also stay focused on them,” he added.
“There’s a lot of stigma around mental illness and how it can affect your career, and it does affect how you’re perceived in the community.”‘
We need to get better’In a country with an unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent, many employers are struggling to find workers.
“One of the things that we’ve been focusing on is to try to get employers to hire people who have a skill set that is recognised by the NHS, that they’ve been assessed for and that they can perform,” said David Brown, executive director of the National Centre for Disability, Youth and Families.
“This is the most vulnerable group in our society, so we’ve got a big challenge to get these employers to accept that they need to make an effort to recruit people who can meet that needs.”
Brown said he believed there were a number of steps employers could take to reduce the stress of their workers on the job.
“Employers should make it clear that they expect people to work under their own initiative, and then they should have a clear plan about how that work can be shared between people,” he argued.
“And if people are struggling, employers should be aware of it, and if they’re struggling, they should seek support from their employees.”