Sarah's story

My husband and I are both chartered accountants and I practiced at one of the big London firms for a long time. My mental health had been vulnerable on a number of occasions over the years.

The first time, about 20 years ago I had a breakdown during a particularly stressful time at home and at work. At the time, I put it down to overworking. But 10 years on, I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I stopped working for a little while. I moved into a role that was less demanding, but as people found out about my background and skillset, I was asked to step up into a more challenging role in that organisation too, and once again my stress levels went up. The bipolar meant that I could be very productive, but I also went through times of being vulnerable too.

My mother fell ill 2 years ago and I left paid employment to help care for her. caba helped me find out about care options during this time and pointed me towards the best resources to get help from. When my mother passed away, it triggered another episode which resulted in hospitalisation. My husband worked throughout all of this, but I'm not the only person in my family with mental health challenges, and the pressure on him was significant as well.

how caba helped me

I saw that there was a lot on the caba website about wellbeing. I started reading the articles and felt motivated to go on some courses to build my resilience. I was determined to get better at looking after myself. On those courses I learned that I could work well as long as I was in a low-stress environment.

I followed up these courses with some career coaching which helped rebuild my CV and changed how I present myself and my skills. I've always enjoyed work, but I do feel my bipolar disorder has interrupted my career regularly and pulling it back on track is a lot of work, so having a coach helped with this. I was also able to discuss the best approach to disclosing my condition at work, if at all, which was a hard but important conversation to have.

I plan to do more with caba to keep me focused on how I want my life to be. They've funded me to attend some conferences too which will help my job hunt as I now have some CPD to talk about at interviews.



are you eligible for caba's services?

caba supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. Our support is free, impartial and strictly confidential. For advice, information and support please click on the button below.

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find out more about our career advice services

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You can access our self-help content for career advice

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we offer a range of training and events that can help your career

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your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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