HEALTHY LIVING: ‘With the support I needed, I achieved my goals’

Keeley Cassinello
Keeley Cassinello
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Keeley Cassinello is happy, healthy and has a job that she enjoys.

But seven years ago life for Keeley, from Southey Green, Sheffield, was very different, as she found herself struggling to cope with the pressures of work and other stresses, which caused her mental health to deteriorate.

Keeley, now aged 34, was diagnosed with psychotic depression and admitted to the Longley Centre in Sheffield, where she stayed for three months before being discharged.

“Through discussions with my support worker, I realised having a demanding job, sitting exams, a relationship breakdown and buying a house had all taken its toll on my mental health,” she said.

Despite recovering well, Keeley then realised she was missing being at work, and was offered the chance to volunteer for Sheffield Health and Social Care, supported by the trust’s employment service.

“I’ve always had a strong work ethic and not being able to work was a problem for me,” she said.

“This was my first step towards taking control of my own recovery and I was excited, and a little frightened about what would happen. There were a few stumbling blocks, but with the support I needed along the way, I achieved my goals.”

In 2007 Keeley secured her first paid job as a clinic administrator. A year later she started her current job as an employment and education worker for the English Institute of Sport.

Two years ago Keeley experienced a further bout of depression which meant she had to take four months off work, but returned to her job with help from the employment service.

“I recognised I needed to look after myself better,” she said.

“What is positive is that even though it was a shock to have a second episode as I really didn’t expect it to happen, I’ve come through it. I know there is someone I can turn to for advice.”