The good, the bad, and the ugly

Migraine workplace stories

These are three stories about the experiences of people who have approached The Migraine Trust’s Advocacy Service asking for our help. Their stories are typical of the thousands of people who have asked for our help since we set up the service in 2011.

 ‘The Good’

Sarah is a nurse with episodic migraine which is sometimes triggered by driving and stress. She wanted to have a discussion with her new employer about how to manage this well. She contacted us to ask for help. We recommended that she download our ‘Help at Work’ toolkit.

Sarah approached her new line-manager about what adjustments they could make together. The first change they agreed was to spread Sarah’s hours over four days a week to minimise her driving. Sarah also went to see an occupational therapist to assess her working environment. The occupational therapist recommended water coolers be placed around the ward so Sarah didn’t become dehydrated. Sarah’s doing well at work and has a great relationship with her new employer.

‘The Bad’

Justine is a social worker who gets migraine about twice a week. Justine needed the lighting in her office changed as it was triggering her migraine. Her employer had refused because they didn’t believe migraine was legally recognised as a disability. She contacted us for help about what to do next.

Following our advice, Justine supplied her employer with a medical report from her GP requesting an occupational health assessment. We also wrote to her employer explaining what migraine is, the rights that people with migraine have in the workplace, and offering our support. Justine’s employer then agreed to make the reasonable adjustments the occupational therapist recommended. But the experience has put a strain on Justine’s relationship with her employer.

‘The Ugly’

Richard is a receptionist. He gets migraine attacks about five times a month. His symptoms were so severe that he was forced to take time off. Richard was asked to attend a disciplinary hearing for breaching his employer’s sickness policy. He was dismissed and his appeal was rejected. He then contacted us asking for help.

Unfortunately, as we heard about Richard’s situation after it had escalated, there was little we could do other than to signpost him to an organisation that could provide him with legal advice.

It doesn’t have to be this way

Can you help to support people like Sarah, Justine and Richard to earn a life for themselves and their families?

We’re very proud of our Advocacy Service and the help we provide to thousands of people with migraine who are worried about losing their jobs.

But imagine if The Migraine Trust had been able to reach out to all three employers to explain how to manage all their employees with migraine well before Sarah, Justine or Richard had needed to ask us for help.

Imagine the worry, stress and upset we could help avoid, and the positive impact we could have on the lives of far more people affected by migraine.

That’s why we want to develop a new ‘Workplace Outreach Programme’ to raise awareness and understanding about migraine in offices and workplaces across the UK.

We want to tell employers about the positive benefits of supporting employees with migraine well as standard, just like employers support people with other disabilities as standard.

We also want to tell employers about the simple reasonable adjustments they can make – often at little or no cost – that can mean employees with migraine can shine at work.

A regular donation of £5 per month will help us to develop our new Workplace Outreach Programme. If everyone in the migraine community chips in a bit we can reach more people, help more people and improve more people’s lives. Please consider donating now.

Thank you so much in advance for your generous. Together, we can help people live better with migraine.