Working in parallel to ensure a smooth journey back into work

Anne* had a successful career in the health sector and had never been out of employment, when suddenly her circumstances changed and she was facing a criminal conviction and mental health challenges.  

Despite not feeling well, the one thing Anne knew was that she needed a job. 

Within weeks the mental health team supporting Anne involved an employment consultant integrated within their team, who followed the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approach.

Employment as a health intervention 

From day one of her employment journey Anne's mental health team worked in parallel with employment consultant Emma* to ensure the process was as seamless as possible. And when required the teams worked together. 

“After being turned down for several jobs, rejection was starting to become a mental health issue for me. It was something I hadn’t faced before. Luckily my mental health support team were working in parallel with the employment support team, teaching me the skills to cope,” says Anne. 

Having the right support at the right time

When Anne first started her employment journey she had very little confidence. Together her and Emma put strategies in place to help build it up over time as they grew to know and trust each other.  

“For a while there I was struggling to leave the house due to confidence issues. Emma recognised this early on, so over time she organised our catch-ups in public places to encourage me to have everyday interactions, which was ultimately a huge step forward in getting my confidence back. What seemed like an impossible task, was okay as Emma was there to support me the whole way.”

For Anne, her employment experience was not just about getting a job. “Emma and the rest of the mental health team made sure nothing got in the way of my basic life skills, which are vital for someone showing up for interviews and work. Emma would check in to see that I was sleeping and eating well.”

Consistent support throughout the employment journey

“Emma fully supported me throughout the experience, through phone calls, text messages and face to face meetings at various locations. The practical support I received helped me to stay engaged in the process.” 

After six months in her new role, Anne is enjoying the challenge and still keeps in regular contact with Emma to ensure she can successfully tackle anything that comes her way. 

Anne says that she felt confident in the process because she knew the team had her best interests at heart and they were looking for jobs that suited her skills. “While other things in life were overwhelming, I could relax knowing that Emma’s support would continue for as long as needed."

* Names have been changed to protect privacy.
 

IPS in New Zealand

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“My employment consultant would meet me at the same location as my mental health team to help make the process easier."

By identifying her strengths and skills and focusing on a tailored approach, Angela's employment and mental health team were able to get her back into work within a year.