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Nina and Karen - facing an eating disorder

Nina started at Lloyds Banking Group on a graduate scheme with Commercial Banking and it was after a few months in quite a stressful placement that habits from an eating disorder she'd experienced as an athlete came back.

“I used the eating disorder as a way to control my stress and I was at quite an unhealthy point in my life. It was quite hard to actually say I have an eating disorder when you've denied it for so long.”

Steadily her eating disorder grew more severe and gradually as she accepted this, she was able to ask for help. With the support of Nina’s line manager, Karen, she was finally able to verbalise the challenges she was facing.

Karen says, “not only could I see that she was rapidly losing weight but she was also losing concentration and as a result of that the work was suffering. When I decided to say something to Nina, I sat side by side with her in a very informal environment and basically just raised concerns because I could see that she wasn't well. “

Nina recalls that it was difficult to accept the help that was being given at times, but Karen reassured her that her health was of utmost importance and that work would always still be there.

“A quote that I learnt whilst off and that I now live by is 'life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain'. And my team kindly bought me this on a lovely wooden plaque that I've now got up on my wall at home”, Nina says.

Karen, reflecting on how best to support colleagues facing mental health difficulties, recalls the importance of being willing to step up and help others.  

“If you were in that position, what would you want? Would you want somebody to help you or would you want somebody to ignore you? I think most people would want help. So don't walk past. And care about your people. 

“If Karen hadn't given me the confidence to take time off work and the support to get fully well before coming back, I don't necessarily think I'd still be here now.” 

Nina is a member of the Access Network at Lloyds Banking Group, which provides support for colleagues with disabilities through initiatives such as mentoring, advice and social events.  She created a video of her story to raise awareness, to inspire others and to encourage people to ask for support if they need it. 

Watch Nina’s video here

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