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Staying on track at work

Ian Mitchell is an experienced operational research manager, using modelling, statistical analysis and simulations to develop practical solutions to problems faced by the Government. A grade 7 civil servant, he has significant analysis responsibilities supporting a broad range of policies.

Ian enjoys his job, but changes in management can cause him to become stressed, develop insomnia, and require time off work to recover. If management procedures or people change, even if he's in the same job at the same desk, Ian can find it too much.

After spotting this pattern of difficulty, Ian sought help and was eventually assessed as having a broad autistic phenotype. This helped him to better understand his situation and think about ways of improving things without relying on medication that could help some of the symptoms but not address the causes.

From the first interview onwards, his employer made reasonable adjustments to his workplace, letting him work from home three days a week. Following an assessment, they also appointed a workplace supporter and purchased Brain in Hand.

Ian uses Brain in Hand to support him with work tasks. For example, he has lists to remind him what to consider when writing a report and how to write letters. He includes coping strategies he knows will work when he is feeling anxious, such as when he receives what seems unfair criticism. This helps him to quickly and discreetly remind himself of thoughts and actions which will reduce his anxiety.

Ian also uses the anxiety monitor to track his moods, which he finds very helpful. He shares this with his manager; it helps Ian to explain how he's feeling, and motivates them both when it shows that things are going well.

Video

Ian talks about how Brain in Hand helps him to manage anxiety and perform better at work

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Ian's Brain in Hand is linked to his work place supporter, Judith. If Ian is feeling anxious and his coping strategies aren’t working, he presses a red traffic light button; Judith can then get in touch by text, helping him to resolve the situation.

Ian says: 'A change in management can turn dream jobs into nightmares for me. But Brain in Hand helps a lot. It helps keep me on track and at work.'

Judith (his workplace supporter) adds: 'Ian increasingly uses Brain in Hand to cope with workplace anxieties. He manages it himself. At first Ian would request additional support from me through Brain in Hand, but now I hardly ever hear from him. Brain in Hand has been such a proactive step for him to self-manage.'