An evidence briefing for political parties

In the run-up to the recent election, Platform Trust hosted a pre-election mental health and addiction forum. This event, which is held every election, was an opportunity to brief the main political parties on topical issues in the mental health and addiction sector.

Work Counts submitted a briefing paper with the message, “We know what works. It is now time to rapidly scale up access to employment support in GP clinics and mental health centres.”

Download the Work Counts briefing paper.

We know what works. It is now time to scale up.

This is an important message for us to continue giving to the incoming government.

New Zealand is currently in the process of a transformation of our mental health and addiction system. This is an opportunity to ensure that people have support to keep their job or return to employment as an integral part of their health treatment.

Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) has been delivering integrated employment and mental health services for 15 years. Former operations manager of ADHB Adult Community Services Lynne Edmonds said, “Employment support is a core health service and should be funded as such. It is not just a nice to have, it is about functional recovery. Individual placement and support (IPS) should be available for everyone in health and disability services.”

We’re now at a pivotal point

We’re now at a pivotal point to make employment support a core health intervention alongside medication support, talking therapies, peer, education and crisis support – just as the Wellbeing Manifesto called for!

Scaled up employment support needed now more than ever

Work Counts strategic advisor Dr Helen Lockett said, “If the transformation of the mental health and addiction system doesn’t intentionally include employment support now, we will continue to see the same sporadic and inequitable growth of IPS employment support for another 10-15 years.”

In a blog on the #Crisis Talk website, psychiatrist and researcher Dr Bob Drake discussed why we need to make IPS employment support core to mental health and addiction treatment services, now more than ever. Bob co-developed the IPS employment support approach.

Once people start working, “they have more self-confidence, develop friends in the community, participate in activities, experience financial stability, and many get promoted over time or get some education so they can get a better job,” said Dr Drake.

“I’ve never seen any other kind of intervention where people actually recover to such a great degree.”