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To Sam

Will self-harm and mental health stop me getting a job?

hi sam i'm deciding wether to become a police officer or a paramedic and i was just wondring with my mental health,self harm and eating issues if i could still do that if i got better and got the grades i need.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Most employers don’t need you to pass any kind of medical exam to start work, but some professions do. For some jobs like a police officer or the army  you have to undertake a medical examination or questionnaire. Your mental health will be assessed , but having had mental health problems before doesn’t automatically disqualify you.

The law  says that employers can’t discriminate against you for a disability – and many mental health problems can be included as this. This means most employers won’t be able to exclude you from the job only on the basis that you had a mental health problem. There are some exceptions  however – such as when something about your condition would prevent you from doing the job.

Joining the police has a lot of steps to the process and they’re there to ensure that only those who are right for the role make it through. There’re a lot of stressful situations you might face as any member of the emergency services and it’s their responsibility to ensure that your health isn’t going to be affected by this. If this is the case, they might suggest you apply at a different time, or for a different role.

It is important that you’re honest about your mental health history. If you’ve been to your doctor about your mental health at any time, be sure to tell them . If it looks like you’re trying to hide this from them, it’s likely they will see this as dishonest and this will affect your chances more than a past or current mental health problem would.

In the end, it’s important that you’re putting yourself and your health first, whatever career you choose.. If you ever get the chance to talk to someone in the emergency services  – either from a family member, friend or at a careers day through school – you can ask them what it might be like.

Thank you for sharing this with me, I hope this information has helped you.

Take care.


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