New Employment Advisers to boost return to work
The government has announced a £122 million employment boost for people receiving mental health support, giving them the opportunity to speak to employment advisers. These advisers will work in collaboration with therapists to help individuals find work and return to work easier and quicker. The government hope this initiative will further drive economic growth.
Individuals with common mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression will benefit from this funding through access to tailored support. Evidence has shown that being in work improves mental health, so not only will the scheme help to create a better labour market, it will also directly benefit recipients’ health and wellbeing.
NHS England Therapists and employment advisers already work together in 40% of the country. Over the three-year spending review period, the service will be extended nationally, with recruitment and training of around 700 employment advisers so that up to 100,000 people can receive the combined offer each year from 2024 to 2025, accessing the support to start, stay and succeed in work.
The service is already fully operational in Cheshire and The Wirral, providing people with the support to get back on their feet and back into work. Employment advisers provide compassionate support for those who have been through truly difficult times.
Some services an Employment Adviser will be able to provide include finding job roles which are suitable and manageable for the individual; helping to create and enhance CVs; preparing people for job interviews, with mock questions and scenarios; providing guidance and coping techniques on returning to work after a long absence; and support people to build their confidence.
Employers should recognise that a person who has sought help from an Employment Adviser may be particularly nervous about attending an interview of starting a new position. In these situations, providing extra comfort and reassurance can go a long way. For example, meeting an interviewee at reception to avoid anxiety of them finding their way to the correct place, then holding the interview in a private space, free from noise and distractions.
Once hired, appointing a buddy or mentor to support the new employee through their initial days and weeks can help them integrate better into the workplace and make the return-to-work transition easier. Similarly, holding an informal welfare meeting to better understand how their mental health might impact them in the workplace and implementing reasonable adjustments to alleviate any difficulties can make their period of employment a success.
Employers who facilitate genuine diversity and inclusion within their organisation, including for those affected by poor mental health, will reap the rewards of a more satisfied and engage workforce, contributing towards reduced turnover and improved productivity.