Will my Depression Stop me from Working with Children?
Q.I recently had a CRB check done which reveals that early this year I took an overdose due to depression, which is now being treated through medication and therapy.Will this result in me not being allowed to work with children, as it's the only job i feel passionatly about doing?
The Department of Health/Department of Children, Schools and Families (DH/DCSF) does have access to your Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)check and will weigh the information that it reveals in assessing your suitability for working with children. In itself, having been diagnosed with depression should not exclude you from securing a job working with children, especially considering that you are receiving treatment. Being upfront with prospective employers is wise, and pointing out that you are in a far healthier state of mind now should help to portray you in the best possible light. In an interview situation, it’s important to address any areas of possible concern in as honest a manner as possible, but you do not want to dwell on them. Acknowledge the situation, point out that you recognised the problem and have taken (and continue to take) steps to address it, and then redirect the conversation to focus on your strengths and the benefits that you can bring to the centre.
Children deserve to be surrounded by adults who feel passionately, as you do, that this type of work is important and rewarding, so be sure to express your enthusiasm for guiding children as you interview for a position. If you have not yet secured your EYPS (Early Years Professional Status), it is important that you seek it. The Government plans to see that there is an Early Years Professional in every child care centre by 2010 and in all daycare environments by 2015. Gaining your EYPS can take from 4 to 16 months, depending on a number of factors, but it is vital to the success of your career. In addition to the EYPS, it can be a boon to your career growth to enrol in classes related to the care and welfare of young children; all employers respect candidates who take active roles in making themselves as qualified and capable as possible.
Finally, be sure to take care of yourself and continue following your doctor’s instructions regarding medication, therapy, and lifestyle choices. Research indicates that a number of factors, including sleep, exercise, controlling stress, and even diet can impact feelings of depression, so do all that you can to make choices that benefit your overall health. Working with children can be a rewarding career, but it does come with its own share of stress. By taking steps to keep yourself healthy, you will better be able to handle the stresses associated with your chosen profession. Remember, in order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself.
Best of luck as you proceed with your life and career – we hope that you find your work to be immensely enriching and rewarding!