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'Good Schizophrenic' Becomes Great Employee.

With staff shortages being increasingly challenging for many businesses at the moment, business owner, Amy Simpson of Paddington Jams & Sauces, engaged in a different approach to find her newest employee.

Carly Morris, Paddington Jams and Sauces

Someone who faces challenges throughout every minute of the day is Carly Morris. Carly is 25 years old and has been battling a long list of mental illnesses since she was 15 years old. These include major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety and having been diagnosed most recently with schizophrenia.

Carly speaks quite candidly about her mental illnesses because she feels it's the only way for society to get beyond the stigma. "My illness is appropriately managed, I live with my parents, I attend my appointments, I take my meds and I do my treatments. I'm a good schizophrenic."

"I'm a good schizophrenic."

The impact employing Carly has had on Paddington Jams & Sauces' productivity has been quite significant for Amy's business. "Our ethos at PJ&S is mainly centered around making a positive impact on our community. I want this business to be able to grow whilst also providing new opportunities for those who face challenges."

Labelling jars is time-consuming work. I knew I needed to outsource this work so that I could focus more on working on my business rather than in. So, I did some research and learned that as a small business, there were subsidies available to employ someone with a disability. And that's how I discovered Tursa."

Tursa Employment & Training is a not-for-profit, independent organisation that helps disadvantaged people find suitable employment.

"I was absolutely petrified at the thought of having to work."

Carly reveals how much of a big step it was for her to enter into the big wide world of employment. "I was absolutely petrified at the thought of having to work. Other agencies that I had met with prior to Tursa just didn't seem to grasp the impacts my mental illnesses had on my ability to be in (let alone work in) certain environments. They tried to get me to lodge blanket applications at various retail outlets without even considering how a job like that could have significant negative impacts on my mental headspace."

One week after signing up with Tursa, Carly recollects the phone call she received from her Tursa agent, Stephanie Clarke. "Steph told me about Amy and her business. She was absolutely raving about Amy's jams and just said I really had to meet her."

Amy's circumstances certainly were unique and were much more appealing for Carly than dealing with strange customers in a major retail store. Amy needed someone to come to her home for 8 hours a week to label her jars, amongst other methodical processes like packing & organising products.

"Telling someone you're schizophrenic is not an easy thing to do."

Amy Simpson & Carly Morris, taking a tea break at Paddington Jams & Sauces

When Carly and Amy first met, Carly went with her mum to Amy's house. Carly was understandably quite nervous about revealing the extent of her conditions to her potential new employer.

"I was flawed at how graciously Amy accepted me, for me. After I left Amy's house with my mum, I got in the car and I cried, and my mum cried too. Telling someone you're schizophrenic is not an easy thing to do. And having experienced bad reactions in the past, it really was the best reaction I could have hoped for. It was at that moment that I knew, Paddington Jams & Sauces was the perfect fit for me and my circumstances."

As it turns out PJ&S's growing so fast these last few months that Carly truly has become quite an integral member of the business. As well as a record increase in sales since the business began back in 2020 during the first Covid19 lockdown, Amy has also been awarded some exciting accolades along the way. Having recently been crowned Champion Preserve of Show at The Ekka Royal Queensland Show and also nominated as a Finalised in the Food & Beverage Category at this year's Ausmumprenuer Awards.

"We have some really exciting times ahead for PJ&S and I'm so glad to share these moments with Carly by my side. She is just a perfect fit. We get along brilliantly. I understand that Carly's mental illnesses do mean that she does suffer from some really bad days but we have an understanding. I always remind Carly that her health is number one. If she is ever not feeling up to it, we will find a solution for another day. Having said that though, she's never let me down. I know that me & my business can always rely on Carly."

This article was scripted entirely with the consent of both Carly & her mother, Donna including the terminology used because Carly and Donna both believe that more common use of these words reduces the fear and stigma that is typically attached to them.

For further information, please Amy contact or call 0402 669 664.

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