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Livewell Southwest launches new service to support people receiving mental health care to find and keep the right work opportunity

by | 30th July 2020 | News

A new mental health support service providing advice and support to those looking for paid employment has launched.

Livewell Southwest is the provider of integrated physical and NHS mental health services and adult social care in Plymouth, supporting people to lead independent, healthy lives.

The new Livewell Individual Patient and Support (IPS) Employment Support Service works with people receiving secondary mental health treatment to support them to find the right work for them, helping them to live independently.

Flippa Watkeys, Livewell IPS Employment Specialist Team Lead, said: “We work with people receiving mental health care to help them find employment through open and competitive processes and importantly we continue to support people once they have found work.

“We connect employers, job centres, with local and national charities like Rethink and Mind, and the Citizens Advice Bureau to ensure there are no barriers to gaining work.“

IPS is an evidenced-based employment approach that is internationally considered as the most effective approach to supporting people with mental health problems to find and keep the right work opportunity.

The Livewell Southwest team is made up of three Employment Specialists, with knowledge of mental health and employment, and managed by Ewa Ford. The team are hoping to be closely integrated into Livewell Southwest’s community mental health services.

People can be referred into the Livewell IPS Employment Specialist Team via email from a secondary mental health service. The team welcome phone calls and invites to clinical meetings as well as having contact with prospective clients to discuss their hopes, aspirations and fears about work as soon as is practicable. The aim is to make the process as smooth and inclusive as possible. In some cases, engagement with clients can start while they are still based within recovery in-patient units.

Ewa Ford, Team Manager, said: “This is really good news for Livewell Southwest, and Plymouth. The team have worked very hard to lay the foundations for such an important service, during difficult and challenging times.

“We can now offer a full recovery pathway for our clients in secondary mental health services, meaning that hopes and aspirations for finding competitive employment can be supported.

“This can only add to the health and wellbeing of our clients who may have found the barriers to work very challenging. We will also provide support to employers, who may otherwise have hesitated at offering such opportunities.”

The service is funded by a successful NHS Southwest transformation bid, IPS Grow and Department for Work and Pensions, to meet the NHS long term plan for mental health, enabling more people with complex mental health issues back into work. A key part of mental health recovery.