Mind helps pave the way for better mental health support at work
Posted Monday 24 August 2009
Mind is delighted by the Government's announcement today (Monday 24 November) that it will look at improving the support offered to people with mental distress in the workplace. A pilot project by Hammersmith and Fulham Mind and Islington Mind called In Work Support is already trialling a new approach to providing practical, tailored support to employees.
In Work Support uses retention specialists to assist workers who are experiencing mental distress to stay in employment. They provide practical and emotional support and can mediate with employers on the individual's behalf to agree adjustments to working practices. Unlike other retention schemes, the project is marketed direct to individuals and encourages them to self refer. This innovative approach bypasses previous barriers to help such as fear of stigma from their employer.
Mind's Director of External Relations Sophie Corlett said:
The In Work Support programme is showing that intervening early and providing personalised support is the most effective way to help people with mental health problems keep their jobs. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference and give people the confidence they need to get back to work.
We welcome the Government's intention to look at expanding employment support for people with mental health problems and its plans to develop a national strategy for Mental Health and employment.
Mind's National Workplace lead Alex Tambourides said: "If employees experiencing mental distress can access support early enough, and on their terms, they can be empowered to prevent their health and lives from spiralling out of the workplace and into social exclusion. In Work Support proves that if the service is flexible, person centered both the employer and the employee can win. We have enabled conversations between managers and staff that would have been previously brushed under the carpet by stigma and misunderstanding. None of this would be possible if it were not for the skills, tenacity and expertise of the staff at the local Mind associations in Hammersmith and Islington where we've been running the two pilots."
Rachel is someone who has been helped significantly by Mind's In Work Support scheme. Following the death of her mother, Rachel experienced depression and needed to take several weeks off work. She wanted to return to employment but was anxious and started to have panic attacks when travelling to the office. A member of the In Work Support team helped her on a practical level by accompanying her when travelling and negotiated a phased return to work with her employer so she could increase her working hours gradually.
Notes to editors
- In work support is a pilot project by Hammersmith and Fulham Mind and Islington Mind funded by Access to Work. http://www.inworksupport.org.uk
- For more information, interviews and a range of case studies please contact Mind press office on T: 020 8522 1743 M: 07850 788514 E: firstname.lastname@example.org ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817.
- Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. www.mind.org.uk
- Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.