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New service helps 25 people find employment in first 12 months

An employment support service in Suffolk has helped 25 people with mental health needs find work since it launched 12 months ago. 

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust invited Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) to run the service in Suffolk following the success of EPUT's Essex-based service. 

The Integrated Employment Support Service helps patients receiving secondary mental health care settle into paid employment. 

A team of employment specialists work alongside clinical teams to help people set career goals, write CVs, prepare for interviews and build confidence. 

Twenty-five people referred to the service have now secured employment in areas including administration, carpentry, factory work, cleaning, driving, engineering and health and social care. 

Alice, 26, from Ipswich, was supported by the service and is now in paid employment as a support worker.  She said: "When I found out about the service, I was hopeful but sceptical about actually finding and achieving employment but I learned so much with the support of my employment specialist. It was as though I was getting to know myself again after much time away. 

"Now I am proud to say that I am a support worker and happy to be living the life that I am." 

Funded by NHS England, the service is delivered by EPUT in partnership with Employ-Ability – a specialist employment support charity working with unemployed people affected by mental health challenges. 

The Integrated Employment Support Service was launched in Essex in 2011 and has been recognised as a national centre of excellence by the Centre for Mental Health. 

Raza Ahmed, service manager across Essex and Suffolk, said: "Employment rates for people with mental illness are very low.  However there is plenty of evidence to show that being in good work supports good mental health, increased quality of life and financial independence. 

"The service supports people with mental health difficulties by offering intensive individual support followed by in-work support for both the employee and employer."  

Anyone who would like further information about the Integrated Employment Support Service should email: