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People experiencing serious mental illness in Herefordshire will be helped to find work thanks to NHS-funded Employment Specialists.

NHS funding has been award to 2gether NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Landau, a central England-based charity located in Herefordshire, which supports people with barriers into work through a voluntary scheme.

A successful pilot scheme has already been running in the county, with it being rolled out fully in July.

The funding is part of a national NHS scheme, which is expected to help 55,000 people a year into competitive and sustainable employment by 2023-24, and 115,000 per year by the end of the next decade.

Landau’s Employment Specialists will work directly with patients, who have voluntarily signed up for the programme, alongside 2gether’s clinical teams, to help prepare them for interviews, and will actively approach employers on the patient’s behalf. They will also work with employers to develop understanding of wider mental health issues, as well as offering to support both employer and employee to facilitate the smooth transition from being unemployed to life-changing employment.

Sonia Roberts, CEO, Landau, said: “We are delighted to be working with 2gether NHS Foundation Trust on this exciting opportunity. We know how valuable our Employment Specialists are in supporting both the patient to find sustainable employment and for employers to reach into the untapped potential of the patients we support. We are delighted to be able to offer this dedicated support in Herefordshire.”

Les Trewin, Service Director Herefordshire, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Accessing employment can be an important step in the recovery of people with mental illness and they can often find many barriers in their way.

“We are really pleased to be working in partnership with Landau to support our service users back into employment, and the results from the pilot have been very positive.

“Through this scheme, we not only hope to be able to support our service users, but also to work with employers to reduce stigma around mental health in the workplace.”

The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model Landau will be using is a highly effective approach to supporting people who are living with mental illness find and keep employment.

IPS is based upon a number of principles; the underlying theme is that service users are listened to and supported into a job which they want to do, then working with both the employer and employee help them stay and develop within that role. The scheme is voluntary.

The model has been shown to be 2-3 times more effective than some other employment support approaches (Burns et al., 2007).

Patients can be referred for the individual placement support programme by their doctor or other health workers, or refer themselves. For many people accessing mental health services, getting the right job can be life changing and key to their recovery.

Case Study

“Having suffered with mental health for over 12 months and feeling like my whole world had fallen apart, I was left feeling very low in self-esteem and self-confidence.  I lost my job/career and the thought of regaining employment terrified me.

“As my health was improving with support from 2gether, I was introduced to Jan Hadfield (Senior Employment Specialist) at Landau, Hereford.  I felt very apprehensive about our first meeting and my anxiety was through the roof but Jan soon made me feel at ease and reassured me that each session will be at my own pace with one small step at a time.

“During the sessions we covered not only employment, volunteering and training options but my personal wellbeing and what I liked to do outside of work, resulting in attending Yoga sessions.  Jan has taken on board all that was in my Curriculum Vitae and what I felt I would like to do now.  My goal/aim is to help others with disabilities and Jan suggested volunteering to work alongside Adults with disabilities at The Aspire Hub in Hereford which, on attending an interview, I was successful with securing a role as a support worker one day per week.

“As my confidence has slowly improved and with the support and guidance from Jan, I have also applied for the position of Job Coach which is Freelance for Landau Ltd and I have a forthcoming induction to attend.

“Jan has provided valuable support to me throughout each session and helped me overcome many fears and barriers.  Her patience and understanding has been a great comfort to me and given me the confidence to progress with my life.” – IPS Participant

One Herefordshire employer, who has worked with Landau and 2gether, said: “Landau supported my worker with his journey into employment. I was aware that they had been unemployed with a few issues which he had struggled with for quite some time. The Landau team was able to support my employee with the skills, confidence and motivation to be actually attend the interview.

“Once he had been given the job, Landau stayed in close contact touch with us both in order to provide the moral and physical support to my employee and to be able to answer any questions I had.

“We are now more than six months into my employee’s time here and I’m pleased to say that my employee has properly settled into the role and is a valued member of the team.

“I am still in close contact with the team and can ask questions if I ever need to, I’m confident that if and when I need to find another member of the team, I’ll be able to do that through Landau as they have taken the time to understand the demands of the job and what I need from a team member.”

Notes to Editor

Landau is a supported training and employment company supporting hundreds of people each year-overcome barriers to employment. For more information visit www.landau.co.uk or contact Nathan.Kavanagh@landau.co.uk

2gether NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to the people of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. For more information, contact T: 0300 4217142 or email wenna.tudor@nhs.net

NHS IPS Wave 2 – The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health states that by 2020/21 there will be a doubling in access to individual placement and support (IPS), enabling people with severe mental illness to find and retain employment.