GOING for a job interview is a nerve-racking experience at the best of times but imagine knowing at some point you would have to reveal you suffered from mental illness.

This was the situation which faced Emily Clark, 26, when she applied and won a job at Wiltshire police headquarters in Devizes.

This week Miss Clark, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was at the forefront of a police campaign to show support to Mental Health Awareness Week which runs until May 20.

On Monday she joined chief constable Kier Pritchard and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson as they launched her bid to pedal the distance between Land's End and John O'Groats on a static bike.

She works as a personal assistant to a number of superintendents and is also a special constable. But she soon hopes to start her dream job as a full-time police officer.

She said: "I started suffering from depression when I was in my teens but I only got my diagnosis two years ago. It made a huge difference to me and my family to finally know what was wrong.

"My school years were difficult but since joining the police I have had tremendous support and my condition is now controlled with medication."

The former pupil of Grittleton House School, near Chippenham, who lives near Trowbridge, said that when she applied to the police she wanted to be honest at her interview.

She said: "As it is not a disability I didn't have to put it on my application form but during the interview I mentioned a few things about depression and then at the end I told them I was bipolar.

"Since coming to work here I have felt very supported."

Chief Constable Pritchard revealed he has also suffered from mental health issues during his police career which started in 1993. He found it difficult to cope after the suicide of a colleague. He was helped by the Force's Trauma Incident Management.

He said: "Attitudes in the police force have changed dramatically especially over the last couple of years. Going back it was a very macho environment and people did not like to admit they were struggling from trauma or other mental health issues.

"It is still not perfect but we have made tremendous strides. There is no stigma attached to mental health problems at Wiltshire police."

Mr Macpherson said: "I am very proud of the way that Emily has chosen to speak out so publicly." But he found the going on the static bike rather hard going in the rising heat on Monday morning.

He said: "I am pleased to be supporting this but very glad I am not having to cycle everyday like Emily."

She said: "I have been doing some training in the gym but I don't think it is going to be easy. I think I will just sleep come the weekend."