Employment support is seen as one of the greatest unmet needs within mental health and addiction services and following the experience of COVID and the pandemic over the past couple of years, there is an unprecedented opportunity for people to secure employment.

Shared values and a commitment to collectively helping tangata whai ora transform their lives and their futures was the unifying message at a mihi whakatau held on Friday 29 April.

Hosted by Counties Manukau Health, the event brought together leaders and supporters of the IPS employment support expansion to welcome eight new employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi. It was a special occasion to acknowledge this historic moment which will see many more tangata whai ora supported.

It followed an earlier welcoming event in March hosted by Auckland District Health Board (DHB) at Manawanui Marae in Point Chevalier.

About the expansion

With an additional 16 employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi joining mental health and addiction teams across both Auckland and Counties Manukau DHB regions, 400 to 600 additional people per year will have access to practical specialist support to enter the labour market and fulfil their employment aspirations.

Funded by the Ministry of Social Development and in partnership with the district health boards, it is an exciting time in Auckland DHB and Counties Manukau Health. This is the first time New Zealand has seen this level of joint funding for IPS employment support by health and social development.

The expansion sees Mahitahi Trust and Workwise working in collaboration with Counties Manukau Health and Auckland DHB, integrating employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi across mental health teams to increase the current employment support resource.

A strong sense of urgency

There was a strong sense of significance and urgency expressed by the organisations and teams represented.

Raewyn Allan, Tumu Whakarae / Chief Executive Officer of Mahitahi Trust highlighted the importance of employment and in particular, for a person to be in a role that is meaningful to them.

“This service is well overdue,” she said. “Employment contributes to a person’s overall, holistic wellbeing”.

Work Counts implementation manager Philleen Dickson said: “If we want to be reminded why we are gathered here today, it is because of those we serve, tangata whai ora. It’s about employment consultants and clinical staff working together, integrated, to support people into real jobs and real pay, because employment and mental health are interrelated.”

Work Counts’ role during the expansion has been providing technical assistance for the integration. Collaboration hui, steering groups, information sessions, mentoring, and training are all important for the sustainability of IPS employment support programmes in New Zealand.

 

“Tailored support to enter and maintain employment is a core component of a contemporary mental health and addiction system, and it is fabulous to see this development in these Auckland regions,” says Philleen.

FAQs - further information

Where is IPS employment support available via Counties Manukau mental health teams?

You can find employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi based at Manukau / Intensive Community Team (Lambie Drive), Matariki (Ōtāhuhu), Te Rawhiti (Howick), Early Psychosis Intervention (East Tāmaki), Rapua Te Ao Waiora (Papakura) and Ngā Raukohekohe (Pukekohe) mental health centres.

Where is IPS employment support available via Auckland DHB mental health teams?

You can find employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi based at Manawanui, Hapai Ora, Cornwall House, Lotofale, Taylor Centre, Manaaki House, Kainga Tiaki, Te Whetu Tawera, Assertive Community Outreach Service (ACOS) mental health centres.

Who can access employment support services?

Anyone currently using services within the identified mental health teams and who are aged between 18 – 64 years. This service will support people looking for work or at risk of losing their employment.

What does an employment consultant / kairapu tūranga mahi do?

Employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi work alongside people facing personal or health challenges, to help them source and secure employment.

What kind of employment support will people receive?

Employment consultants / kairapu tūranga mahi and mental health clinicians will work together to support people into work and with their health and wellbeing. Employment consultants will assist with employment planning and identifying the strengths, skills and experience of each person. They will also assist with developing CVs, cover letters and job applications, approaching employers and engaging with Work and Income. Support will continue once the person secures a job.