Lindsay, a dedicated Crew Member working at the Coleraine Branch of McDonald's, has overcome significant mental health challenges, turning her life around with the support of interventions implemented by the caring team at the fast-service restaurant and with the additional help from Heather, Employment & Skills Officer at Disability Action. 


Just a few months ago, this resilient employee was on the verge of losing her job due to attendance issues linked to her mental health struggles. Lindsay struggled with low motivation, poor productivity and struggled to interact with others and therefore isolated herself from the team  


Recognising the importance of supporting their team members, and with the help and advice from Heather, Sharon (Company Director) and the management team at McDonald's took proactive measures to help Lindsay navigate these challenges and regain control over her life.  


This support was provided on a 1:1 regular basis with Heather under the Disability Action Workable NI programme. The Workable NI programme supports people with disabilities and their employers to achieve inclusion and equalityHeather was instrumental in enabling and empowering Lindsay to talk about issues with her employer, such as how her disability affects her in work and what tasks might be difficult for her.   


The first step was establishing an open line of communication between Lindsay and her Shift Managers. Recognising the need for empathy and understanding, Heather and the management team worked closely with Lindsay to create a supportive and inclusive environment. This approach not only helped Lindsay feel valued and important but also allowed her to share her struggles without fear of judgment. 


Understanding the impact of mental health on attendance, the restaurant has implemented reasonable adjustments such as including a flexible scheduling system and to allow the 5-10 mins additional ‘breather break’ that accommodate Lindsay’s needs. In addition to the 1:1 meeting Lindsay has with Heather, Lindsay has a weekly check in’ with the restaurants People Lead where Lindsay can share any issues that may have arisen at home, in tech or at work, hence not allowing things to mount up. Lindsay also took part in the ‘Take 5’ steps to wellbeing training provided by Heather, along with 20 other staff members, to better understand how we can look after our own mental health. This 2-hour training was very informative, a good teambuilding exercise and great fun!  


These accommodations have not only reduced Lindsays overall stress levels, but they have also allowed her to maintain a healthier work-life balance, ultimately contributing to remarkably improved attendance, attitude, and self-esteem. 


Additionally, the restaurant partnered with Disability Action’s new Mental Health and Wellbeing Service who provide counselling and support services for Lindsay. These resources play a crucial role in helping Lindsay develop coping mechanisms, manage stress and change, and build resilience. The positive effects of these interventions were soon evident as her overall well-being improved, leading to a more consistent and dedicated work performance. 


Today, the once-struggling crew member is thriving at McDonald's, not only in terms of job performance but also in her personal life. The support and understanding shown by her colleagues, her management team, and Heather her Employment & Skills Officer, have not only saved her job but have also created a workplace culture that prioritises the mental health and well-being of its team members. 


Lindsay has been selected, along with three other members of staff, to organise this year’s RMHC charity day in December that involves learning to face paint, balloon modelling and raising funds for the Ronald McDonalds House Charities. This has created a new sense of belonging and significance for Lindsay within the team and that would have seemed impossible just a few months ago.  


Linsday has been nominated as ‘Crew Member of the month for December 2023This is given in recognition of the effort and contribution Lindsay puts in each and every shift.  


Under the Workable NI programme, Heather and the management team at Coleraine McDonald’s are continuing to work together to provide support to other team members who are struggling along their disability and workplace journey. 


This inspiring journey serves as a testament to the positive impact that Disability Action’s Workable NI programme and most importantly a supportive workplace can have on individuals facing mental health challenges. The Coleraine McDonald's team's commitment to fostering a compassionate and understanding environment has not only transformed the life of one employee, but has also set a shining example for workplaces everywhere. 


Recognising the increasing prevalence of mental health issues facing their staff, and the need for additional training for their management and support teams, Sharon reached out to Heather for advice. Heather provided online Disability Equality Training to 23 managers and support staff that lead to a better understanding on the challenges anyone with a disability faces and how best they can assist them in the workplace 


Additionally, to further upskill the whole management team’s knowledge, Heather also arranged for training classes on ‘Supporting Employee Wellbeing delivered by AWARE, a Northern Ireland based mental health charity. Also organised through AWARE, four senior members of the management team have completed the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course in recent months, equipping them in providing help to a person developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental health crisis. First aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves. 


Prioritising employee wellbeing is essentialfor the Coleraine restaurant to be a successful business. They need to empower their employees, increase productivity, and foster a positive working environment. Heather has provided the expertise and tailored training to meet these goals through their mutually beneficial partnership.  


"Embracing the transformative power of genuine support, my journey here at McDonald’s in Coleraine has been nothing short of life-changing for me. With ongoing encouragement from the dedicated management, the empowering tools provided by Heather from the Workable NI program, and the invaluable counselling resources provided by Disability Action, I've not only found a workplace but a community that believes in my potential. Now, I come to work not just for a pay packet at the end of the week, but for the confidence that has blossomed within me. The collaborative spirit and genuine care from my crew members and leadership have turned the ordinary into extraordinary, making each day a step towards a brighter, more fulfilled me." 





Special thanks to Lindsay, Sharon (Company Director) and all the management team at McDonalds, Coleraine for sharing their story with Heather (Employment & Skills Officer) at Disability Action.