Wellbeing services across Norfolk and Suffolk have secured additional funding of £1.5million to help local people with mental health issues to return to work.
The money is allowing Wellbeing Suffolk and Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney to recruit a total of 19 additional employment advisors across both counties. It is a share of £47.5m being made available nationally by the Department for Work and Pensions to help improve access to psychological therapies and reduce stress-related work sickness.
Wellbeing Suffolk has already received its funding, which has enabled its existing partner organisation the Shaw Trust to recruit additional employment advisors to work alongside therapists in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. Funding for Norfolk and Waveney is due in 2018.
This money will secure the new posts across both counties until 2020.
The advisors will help people with common mental health conditions, such as stress, anxiety and low mood, to find a job or return to work by providing advice and training. They will also support people who have had to take time away from work due to mental ill health, and have become apprehensive about returning.
In addition, people receiving employment advice will also be able to benefit from the wide range of workshops, courses and talking therapies which are offered by both services to help people improve their wellbeing. Designed to be as easy as possible for people to access, the sessions are held in a variety of community settings across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Nesta Reeve, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) Clinical Service Lead for Wellbeing services, said: “It is important that people who have been off work due to stress and anxiety are given the right help and support to get them back to work.
“Not being able to work because of mental health issues can often affect people’s confidence and self-esteem. Some people might feel afraid to talk about what stopped them from working as there can still be stigma around the issue.
“Also, when faced with the opportunity to start working again, people who have been off work for long time can feel very anxious. This funding will help people not only to return to work, but also to manage potentially stressful situations in the workplace.”
Anyone aged 16 and over can self-refer to Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney by calling 0300 123 1503. In Suffolk, people can call 0300 123 1781.
People can also self-refer online for both services by visiting www.wellbeingnands.co.uk
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