Employment specialists working within community mental health teams at the trust are helping people with mental health problems to realise their career ambitions.
Since 2018, IPS employment advisors in County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire, have supported over 450 service users, helping them to find and apply for jobs. Over 110 individuals were able to successfully secure paid positions and are now working in roles which include physical training instructor, web designer and delivery driver.
Continuing to provide support in the work place, advisors make sure individuals settle into their new roles and help to address any issues which may impact their ongoing employment. They also offer advice and guidance to companies around reasonable adjustments that will help people to stay well and remain at work.
Service user story…
Thanks to the support of Caroline Walker, IPS employment advisor, York resident, Jodi Estabrooks, recently gained employment as a health care assistant on the nursing bank at her local acute hospital. Working across several wards, including those caring for people with COVID-19, Jodi is delighted to have returned to a career in a care.
Jodi said: “As we entered lockdown I didn’t feel that staying at home was the ideal situation for my mental health. I wanted to do something that would not only support my wellbeing but that would help other people. My care co-ordinator put me in contact with Caroline, who gave me the confidence and reassurance to pursue a job in the NHS.
“Caroline took the time to understand the difficulties I had experienced and reminded me that my background in care, gave me skills that would be particularly valuable at this time. She was on-hand to help me with job applications and paperwork and gave me the encouragement I needed when I doubted myself.
“The support of the IPS service has been invaluable to me. They have helped me to keep moving my life forward and realise my goals, at a time when that could have easily stalled.
“I have really enjoyed getting back into work, particularly looking after patients on the COVID ward. I’ve been able to give something back and make a difference which is something I, and my family, are really proud of.
What our staff said…
Individual Placement Support service lead at TEWV, Mark Fryett, said: “Being employed can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Not only does it give you more financial security, it offers you a sense of identity and purpose. It’s also a great way to connect with other people, make friends and be part of a community – all things that support recovery from mental health problems.
“Currently only 37% of people in the UK with a mental health diagnosis are in paid employment. This reduces to 8% for those with a serious mental illness.
“Jodi’s story is an excellent example of how, with the right support, people can get back into the work environment and flourish.”
What other people said…
Lynne Miller, national lead from IPS Grow commissioned by NHS England to support the national expansion of IPS services across the country in response to the NHS England long-term plan added:
“IPS services across the country are creating a more inclusive society and transforming the lives of people living with mental health needs – Jodi’s journey and experience of using the IPS service at TEWV is a great demonstration of how getting meaningful employment is a vital step in the recovery journey. It also recognises the impact of IPS in secondary care mental health services during the coronavirus lockdown and how the service quickly adapted to continue to support and build hope for clients during this pandemic. To find out more about IPS and the role of health and employment see: ipsgrow.org.uk”
Polly McMeekin, director of workforce and organisational development at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which manages York Hospital, commented: “It is really important that organisations provide individuals with opportunities this like, which can provide them with independence and a sense of purpose to support their mental wellbeing.”
If you are a local employer and would like to know more about welcoming someone with mental health difficulties into the work place, please contact the trust via email firstname.lastname@example.org.