Successful mental health employment scheme awarded national funding

People being treated for serious mental health problems will receive more help into employment after the NHS successfully received nearly £500,000 of national funding.

NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group has been successful in its bid to NHS England for transformation money to expand the Individual Placement and Support service (IPS) as part of the NHS Five Year Forward View for mental health.

The funding will enable the expansion of the successful Individual Placement Support (IPS) employment scheme delivered by the non-profit organisation Pentreath embedded within Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT).

Employment specialists from Pentreath, alongside peer mentors will work in collaboration with the early intervention in psychosis teams, community mental health teams and the community mental health forensic service to help people get a job as quickly as possible. They will also provide individually tailored support for as long as the person needs it to ensure they can make a success of their job.

Paul Reeve, business development manager at Pentreath, said: “Too many people continue to believe that work is an unrealistic goal for people with serious mental health problems but that is simply untrue.

“Evidence gathered about people who have been through the IPS pilot shows that people experiencing psychosis and other metal illnesses can work and that this helps to sustain their recovery.

“When people are in employment they have a reason to get on with life, achieve their goals and ultimately the person’s mental health improves.”

Phil Confue, chief executive at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: "A significant proportion of people who are not in work would welcome the opportunity to gain or return to employment. As a local provider it’s important that we support them to do this as part of their recovery. Employment is good for us, in addition to provide an income, it is also a source of satisfaction, achievement and boost to self-esteem. It gives structure to our day and also increases our opportunities to make friends.”

Dr Paul Cook, NHS Kernow’s clinical lead for mental health, said: “Work can be central to the recovery of a person with serious mental health because it links us to our communities, provides us with status and identity as well as meaning and purpose in life. In addition many of us will meet our friends and partners through either work or education and it gives the resources we need to do other things that we value in life.

“Employment is very much a health issue as it not only reduces the risk of developing mental health problems but also the risk of relapse, decreases the risk of suicide and a range of physical health problems and premature death.”

Ben Bray, 27, from Cornwall, has said the employment support offered by Pentreath has given him a new lease of life.

He experienced psychosis for approximately three years and barely left the house.
Ben said: “If it hadn’t been for Pentreath and the support that they gave me into employment I would still be at home unable to leave the house and fearful of social situations.

“Thanks to them I have completed a BTEC course in administration as well as other vocational qualifications including Understanding Mental Health level 2 and I have gone from volunteering at Pentreath to full-time employment with the organisation.

“My life has been transformed, it’s unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough. The change in me is unbelievable, yes I have good days and bad days but my lifestyle is completely different now.”

Referrals for the new IPS service will come through the CFT clinical team where the employment specialist is co-located.