The 8 December will see the first step in an East Midlands wide approach to supporting people with mental health illness back in to work or education. The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) is championing and extending a widely proven scheme called Individual Placement and Support (IPS) across the region. At the first meeting of its kind in the East Midlands, EMAHSN is bringing together top mental health, commissioning and social care experts from the area to seek agreement on a joint and consistent approach which could help thousands of people.
The cost of providing health and social care for mental illness is estimated to increase from £22.5bn to £47.4bn by 2026. Not including dementia, around 8m million people live with mental illness and this is expected to be 9m by 2026. Many people want to work and have a positive impact on their own lives as well as wider society. However, people with mental illness can find it difficult to find work or stay in education.
EMAHSN is supporting the IPS approach because it has already been proved to particularly effective, especially in younger people. Plus, if Early Intervention Mental Health Teams can work with first episode psychosis patients around 80% can get a job or stay in employment and education.
IPS uses employment specialists in mental health teams and this approach can help individuals to overcome specific barriers to work. Many people do want to work, but they do not get the support they need. Work and employment are primary ways people stay in contact with, and build their communities. Through work people often discover that they have positive contributions to make and this assists with building self-esteem. Work and recovery and therefore very closely linked. This programme will work on an individual basis with all the Mental Health Trusts in the region in order to embed IPS and have a truly region wide, consistent approach to helping people.
Nicola Oliver, stated:
My aspiration six months after my breakdown and subsequent Bipolar Disorder diagnosis was to return to work. Unfortunately the message from my clinical team was that employment wasn’t recommended. Without their positive message and the employment support that I needed, it took me four years to re-enter the work place. Yes, returning to work was stressful however within six months of employment I no longer needed appointments with my Community Psychiatric Nurse, psychologist or MIND. Out of all my therapies, work has had the most significant impact on my recovery. I now only seeing my psychiatrist every six months; my support network comes from my colleagues at work.
EMAHSN Managing Director, Rachel Munton said:
This is a very important day for anyone involved with the care of people with mental health issues. I’m proud that the EMAHSN is supporting and developing such a wide-reaching and positive programme. If people with mental health conditions want to work or be part of formal education then there should be no barriers to this, especially not when it’s proven to assist with their recovery.