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New specialist employment advisors set to help mental health service users back into work

New specialist employment advisors set to help mental health service users back into work

Local people in Calderdale using secondary mental health services are set to benefit from additional support to find paid work after South West Yorkshire NHS Partnership Foundation Trust ( SWYPFT ) was awarded funding to recruit employment specialists. The supported employment team will be made up of a Council and Trust employment specialist and an IPS team leader. This means that employment will be clearly recognised as a key health and social care outcome for people with complex mental health needs.

This new service is the result of a successful bid for funding from NHS England for the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) scheme and has been supported by Calderdale Council and Calderdale CCG. The employment specialists and an IPS team leader will be working as an integral part of the secondary mental health teams based at Laura Mitchell Health Centre in Halifax.

Service users who want paid work can be referred directly by any mental health specialist within the mental health team and will also be able to self-refer.

Employment specialists will then offer an assessment or vocational profiling around the person’s skills and interests, coaching around the practicalities of finding a job and preparing for interviews whilst providing tailored ongoing support when the person is in work. They can also search for jobs and speak to employers directly alongside the service user or on their behalf to identify well-suited roles – acting as a crucial link between patient, their employer and their clinical team. The IPS model has been well researched and is the most effective model of supporting people in secondary services into work.

Service users will be able to access the trained specialists at any time. They will work in the teams with psychologists, mental health nurses, occupational therapists and other health professionals and can speak to potential employers about how best to support people so that they can work effectively while staying in good health.

The IPS team will work closely with the existing Calderdale vocational team who currently work with people who have aspirations around paid work, work retention, work placements, volunteering, education and training.

Amanda McKenzie, IPS and Vocational Team leader in Calderdale, said: “This is about working with people’s own choices and strengths to find the right employment for them. Working with employers is central to the role along with the practical side of building a CV, job searching, preparing for interviews and providing ongoing in-work support. The employment advisor will be a key link between the service user, their employer and mental health team and help to maintain work and good health.

“We will be offering IPS awareness sessions for staff in the community teams and working closely with the Council, DWP, local partners and employers to build on our existing networks. This is a brilliant opportunity to help more people into work and to promote the benefits of positive mental health support to employers.”

For more information contact Amanda McKenzie on Amanda.McKenzie@swyt.nhs.uk

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