Providing Employment Support For People With Mental Health Challenges

Helping Others, Holistic Recovery

For people experiencing mental health challenges, getting back to work is health promoting and an important part of recovery. It can be an important step in helping a person get the most out of life. But it can also be a difficult step for many people with mental ill-health.

Here at Bridge, we provide the all-important help and support for people with mental health challenges to get back into employment. Learn more about why getting back into employment is so important and how we approach it.

Getting back into employment

The longer a person is away from work, the lower the chances are that they will return. For this reason, returning to work must be prioritsed as a treatment goal from the beginning.

So why focus on employment?

For most people going back to work is a positive step and support is available to help the transition. Returning to employment is viewed by many as an essential part of recovery and most people do want to return to work. 

Not being in employment, or failing to return to employment after a period of mental ill health, can have some negative effects. It’s common to see an increased risk of substance misuse, psychiatric disorders, reduced self esteem and isolation to name a few.

Regular employment offers many benefits for mental health that medical treatment can’t provide. 

These include:

  • Structure to the days, weeks and months.
  • A daily routine.
  • A sense of purpose and identity which improves self esteem.
  • Much needed social contact to avoid the detrimental effects of loneliness.
  • Financial security to ease the pressures of daily life.
  • Increased quality of life.
  • Better control of symptoms.
  • Reduced substance use.
  • Reduced hospitalisation.

The tailored support at Bridge is based on the Individual Placement and Support model of care.

What is the Individual and Placement Support Model?

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a model that supports people with serious mental health challenges to return to work. The IPS model helps people find work they enjoy (or of their choosing) and to continue to work regularly.

The IPS model is based on the evidence-based practice of supported employment and is based on eight principles as follows:

  • Competitive employment – jobs for anyone at at least minimum pay.
  • Systematic job development – employment specialists visit businesses to learn more about them and their hiring processes.
  • Rapid job search – IPS programs use a rapid job search approach to help job seekers obtain jobs rather than assessments, training, & counseling.
  • Integrated services – IPS services integrated with mental health treatment teams.
  • Benefits planning – employment specialists help people obtain personalized, understandable, and accurate information about their financial entitlements.
  • Zero exclusion – people are not excluded on the basis of diagnoses, substance use history, hospitalizations, homelessness, level of disability, or legal system involvement.
  • Time unlimited support – support is individualised and continues for as long as each worker wants and needs the support. 
  • Worker preferences – IPS program services are based on each job seeker’s preferences and choices rather than the employment specialist’s and supervisor’s judgments.

How Bridge provides employment support

At Bridge, we believe returning to work is critical to the recovery process. For people in recovery from mental ill health, especially those with complex needs or a history of offending, support back to employment is essential to avoid the detrimental effects of remaining unemployed.

Bridge will ensure that:

  • Eligibility for employment roles are based on the individual’s choice with no exclusion criteria.
  • People will be fully supported by us.
  • A competitive employment is found that pays at least minimum wage.
  • The job search is rapid (to begin within 4 weeks).
  • All assistance with job seeking is individualised.
  • Employers are approached with the needs of individuals in mind.
  • Follow-along support is proportionate to the individual’s needs.
  • Financial planning is provided.

If you’d like to learn more about how Bridge supports people with mental health challenges to return to employment, contact us here.

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