“I feel that life can be good again.” Keira’s story.
After being forced to leave her career as a paramedic, Mandurah job seeker Keira has overcome mental health challenges to land a job in the mining industry. Keira relished her work as a paramedic and emergency responder until she was bullied at work.
I was completely blindsided,” Keira said. “I thought I would retire as a paramedic, but when a colleague died by suicide, I knew I would be next if I didn’t do something.”
Losing the career she loved
Feeling like she may had unwittingly brought the bullying upon herself, Keira accessed mental health services for three months. She was then dismissed by her employer, after being deemed to have a Total Permanent Disability (TPD).
“I tried to get legal support but in the end I had to rely on a small TPD payment from my superannuation to survive financially. Seeing my mental health crushed affected those around me as well, especially my father and daughter.”
For three years, Keira became a recluse. Unable to leave her house and desperate to regain her passion for life, she started studying legislation and commenced a law degree.
“I started seeing a psychiatrist, but I couldn’t afford to keep paying for the sessions which were costing me hundreds of dollars each time,” Keira said. “I was fortunate that I didn’t have a mortgage on my house but the Centrelink payments I was getting weren’t enough for me to continue my care.”
The only way is up
When Keira met with MatchWorks Employment Consultant, Dianne Woodley she was at rock bottom. “The mental health hospital I was staying at had tried to discharge me early and against my doctors’ orders, only backing down when I contacted a government mental health advocate,” Keira said. “Later, I couldn’t even get a prescription for my medication because I couldn’t afford the bill to see my psychiatrist. I was being let down by the system at every turn.”
Dianne focused on Keira’s employment prospects, while remaining understanding of her mental health. “Keira had experience with driving trucks, so we started looking at jobs within the mining industry,” Dianne said.
Dianne helped Keira by:
- Supporting her to obtain a dump truck operator licence.
- Finding her a casual job as a dump truck operator with a mining company.
- Providing her with Personal Protective Equipment for her role.
A fresh start
“Keira commenced in her casual role but it was her own resilience and determination that landed her a full-time permanent role with one of the largest mining companies in Australia a few months later,” Dianne said.
“Dianne was so helpful, it was her influence that really picked me up,” Keira said. “After being bullied, I couldn’t imagine being able to work again and trusting a company to support me, but Dianne listened to me, encouraged me and went above and beyond. I knew I had to make my life the best it could be but it was her support that really made a difference to me after being let down by so many organisations and the mental health system.”
“I’m thrilled with my job, it feels good to upskill especially at my age, and I’ve been able to buy an investment property, which I wouldn’t have been able to do without Dianne’s support and belief in me. I’m grateful to be able to contribute to society again and be a positive influence.”