A woman from the south west who suffers with a range of health issues has urged employers at a jobs fair to recruit people with health problems.
Denise Guyett, 43, from Plymouth but originally from New Zealand, gave an impromptu speech at the city’s first Disability Confident jobs fair at Plymouth University.
Unemployed Denise, who by her own admission suffers from agoraphobia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety, stood up in front of 25 of the city’s employers to deliver a five-minute speech about employing people with health conditions.
Denise, who is currently on the Work Programme with employability provider Working Links after being unemployed for more than a year, gave an overview of her 17-year career in New Zealand so employers could see what she had done in the past and what skills she could offer.
She said: “I did it because it's important to get the message out to employers that it's okay to employ people who have illnesses or disabilities. I didn't do it for me. I did it for all the people who live with illness and disability.
“I spoke of my dealing with living with mental health conditions because. And I spoke of attitude and determination – which can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t.
“I’ve been with Working Links since April 2016 where I have received support from my personal consultant Alex and the health and wellbeing facilitator Tammy. Through their support, encouragement and guidance, I’ve been able to gain a better understanding of managing my conditions so I can return to work.”
Health and wellbeing facilitator Tammy Stone said: “Denise has made such a wonderful transformation and I am extremely proud of her – she is an inspiration.”
Denise would like to return to the workplace in an administration or health field, ideally in a part-time role to start with.
Ben Gleeson, of Cardiff, was on track for a career before he was forced to drop out of university following mental health issues.