Raising awareness of disabilities in the workplace

Staff from an active networking group are leading the charge to change people’s views of disabled people in the workplace, especially those dealing with hidden disabilities.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s Disability Staff Network has launched a series of videos of group members talking about the issues they tackle every day.

The short, but moving testimonials include staff talking candidly about dealing with mental health, autism, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and multiple sclerosis.

One video interviewee is pharmacy support worker Nic Samuels. Nic, who suffers from bouts of serious depression, says in her video:

“People don’t understand that when that black cloud starts and you just get that black cloud in your head. There’s nothing you can do and you just feel so ill.

“It’s horrendous, this feeling of pain in your mind.

“You’ve got no logic or rationale. Your brain just will not function, it’s just full of lowness and it’s the most horrendous feeling in the world.”

Nic Samuels Disability Staff Network - Disability Awareness Day - 2

Nic advises her colleagues dealing with similar issues to ask for help, commenting: “Anybody that’s suffered from it should feel they can get support from the Trust, because I have. You feel so much better when you have been and spoken to someone.”

The videos will be published on social media by the Trust on Disability Awareness Day on Sunday 12 September.

Kris Bell, chair of the Disability Staff Network, said: “Many disabilities are hidden. Not every disabled person is in a wheel chair.

“The Trust has even fitted signs to the disabled access toilets to remind people that not all disabilities are immediately obvious.

“We hope these short videos illustrate the challenges some of our friends, colleagues and family members face every day, and how we can all make small adjustments to understand more and be more supportive.”

Kris Bell - Disability Staff Network - Disability Awareness Day

On Monday 13 September, the Disability Staff Network is hosting a packed day of staff-focussed talks, seminars and interactive sessions to highlight the work of our disabled employees and the challenges they overcome every day. The sessions will be taking place at both the University Hospital of North Tees and University Hospital of Hartlepool.

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