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When things fall apart, we all pull together

Posted by 4MAT Administrator
Posting date:4/24/2020 7:58 AM
24 April 2020

I'd just started – and I was valued and supported

In 2018 I joined Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, as a Technical Consultant in ADS&T. The division was expanding on exciting projects and programmes, so I was keen to get my skills in the mix. Little did I know that my personal life was about to be thrown into complete disarray. Here's my experience of the Employee Assistance Programme and being supported by my line managers and colleagues.



My life turned upside down.

While still on probation, I suddenly found myself in a horrendous, emotionally upsetting situation. Reeling on that first day, I went into work knowing I had to deliver on a client's site. But I knew that I wasn't in a "good place." And I was worried that my feelings would impact my ability to perform my duties. More importantly, I was deeply concerned that if I opened up, my colleagues might judge me negatively – and that it would jeopardize my probation. 

Reaching out to my line manager.

As difficult as it was, I approached my line manager, who listened to what I had to say and immediately empathized. He commended me on being open and honest, saying how difficult it can be to share personal problems, and that I should recognize that as a positive, not a negative. He then calmly explained that he would have to advise HR, and how the organization would do what was right to balance my well-being with business needs. I breathed a sigh of relief at the reassurance and support. 

I was referred to our Employee Assistance Programme

Through the programme, I was able to talk to a solicitor about my legal position. This 30-minute discussion really helped me to plan a course of action. I also accessed six counselling sessions, which were immense – an experience that will stay with me for a lifetime. They helped me to formulate coping strategies, sorting the wood from the trees. I was able to release a lot of my anxiety, helping me stay focused on my job. 

I felt human and valued

The counselling made it easier for me to open up to colleagues and was amazed by the support they offered me. I went on to pass my probation, receiving positive feedback from the client and having built an excellent working relationship with my team. I ended up having a very positive first year with Atkins, and I'm happy to say that the external matters are finally resolved.

Assessing Mental Health during lock-down and beyond



Shortly after sharing my experience with Atkins colleagues I experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I didn’t understand it at first and I became overwhelmed by an array of emotional and physical issues all at the same time. Thankfully, after a short time the issues began to subside, and I returned to my normal self again. I have taken all the coping strategies that I learned through the Employee Assistance Programme and it has helped me adjust during the Coronavirus lock-down. In fact, I have coped so well that I have been able to help friends and family members during this crisis and it has made a huge difference to their well-being as well as my own. I’m a stronger person now and I continue to thrive at work, recently extending my contract on a project for a year which was only supposed to be a short 3-month project. I'm in a good place and looking forward to the future.

This is a place to thrive

I can say from my experience that Atkins takes the well-being of its employees very seriously, and the support and services we can access are exceptional. As an organization, we can be proud of how we support our employees. I've learnt that by sharing our experiences, we can help others who are struggling and who need support.

Find out how our people's mental health is our priority.

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