Trust trials employment services

Residents with low level mental illnesses or long-term physical health conditions in Dudley are being urged to sign-up to take part in a new pilot that aims to support people to get back into employment.

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is launching the Thrive into Work programme, testing a new employment support service that aims to help people find, and more importantly, stay in work.

In 2014, 20.5%* of Dudley residents experienced long-term illness or disability that limited them daily. To these residents, the service can offer support on a one-to-one basis to meet individual needs around employment support, benefit advice and employment retention. This type of support has been shown to work in other health settings like community mental health services.

Piloting the new service will see participants randomly organised into one of two trial groups – one will receive individual placement and support and the other will receive standard information and signposting that is currently in place. Following completion of the pilot a review will be done to evaluate the success of the new employment support service.

Thrive into Work is a collaboration between different parts of the health service, local and national government. This includes the West Midlands Combined Authority, NHS England, the Department of Work and Pensions, and the Department of Health.

George Farmer Manager at the Trust, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to be able to work closely with those who are struggling with health issues that are holding them back from gaining substantive employment. Dudley’s rate of unemployment is higher than the national average** and these vulnerable people within society need our focus to help them make progress. The service will see dedicated employment staff working in partnership with NHS clinicians to develop a greater focus on employment to tackle health outcomes and promote wellbeing.”

This programme is a key element of the Thrive West Midlands action plan developed by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Mental Health Commission to improve mental health and wellbeing in the West Midlands.

The Trust already provides an Individual Placement and Support service and is one of sixteen national centres of excellence and delivers a range of employment support across the Black Country.

To find out more or to sign-up to the trial visit www.thriveintowork.org.uk or call 01384 324645.