More people in Norfolk and Waveney who have a mental health problem are going to be supported to find work, after the NHS pledged to increase funding.
The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) service, which is run by the mental health charity Mind, will be able to double in size.
The IPS helps people who experience severe mental health conditions find and re-enter employment. IPS Employment Advisors then continue to provide additional help and support to people once they return to work.
Now, the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has been awarded £485,000 of national funding to expand the IPS service over the next year and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups will fund the enlarged service in future years.
Mind currently has nine employment advisors, but with the additional money they will be able to hire a further 11.
Amanda Hedley, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind are delighted to have this opportunity to further support people with mental health problems across Norfolk and Waveney to secure and sustain employment. We know from what people tell us that being employed can often be a positive step towards their recovery. We are looking forward to working with people to help them achieve this aim.”
In Norfolk and Waveney, only 9.5% of people aged 18-69 who are receiving secondary mental health services, and who are on the Care Programme Approach (a package of mental health care supported by a care co-ordinator) are currently in work.
The funding will pay for the new staff and the creation of the employment support ‘hubs’, linked into local Jobcentres, Early Help Hubs and Primary Care teams. The staff will continue to work closely with colleagues at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) which provides community and specialist mental health services.
Increasing IPS provision locally will build upon the existing successful partnership working between Mind and NSFT within the Wellbeing service in Norfolk and Waveney, and also working with the Department for Work and Pensions.
Nesta Reeve (pictured), Clinical Lead for Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, said: “We know how important having the right kind of employment is to sustaining good mental health and it is great that we can now offer employment support alongside other mental health support so we can really tailor the support to people’s individual needs and aspirations."
Developing Individual Placement and Support services is a key commitment of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, to prepare and support people in applying for jobs, and to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace through using a partnership approach.
Launching the service and recruiting to the posts will begin within the coming months, with a view for the initial service to commence in July 2019.
Issued on behalf of the Norfolk and Waveney STP, of which NSFT is a member. For press enquiries, email: Emma Jones, Media and Communications Manager NHS South Norfolk CCG and NHS North Norfolk CCG, at: Emma.Jones112@nhs.net