A New Mental Health Service Rolls Out in West Sussex

West Sussex County Times

A new service aimed at helping people with mental health issues back into work is rolling out across West Sussex this month.

The innovative scheme – delivered in partnership with Southdown¹ – aims to not only place people with mental health issues into jobs that suit them but also to support them throughout their employment to help them remain employed long-term and develop their confidence and independence. This is in contrast to many other models which provide support towards gaining employment, but end once the client has found a job.

Southdown, alongside Sussex Partnership, already delivers the service in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.  Launched in April 08 and July 09 respectively, it has already helped hundreds of people back into paid employment. In West Sussex it is expected to support a further 400 people each year who wish to enter or retain paid employment.

Research shows that although 80% of people with mental health problems want to work, only about 20% with severe mental health problems, and about 50% of those with less serious problems, are in paid employment².

The revolutionary Individual Placement and Support (IPS) service, in Sussex, has also recently been selected as an ’emerging’ Centre of Excellence by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health because of the work in supporting people who use mental health services into employment. The learning from the Sussex sites will be shared with other areas of England.

How does it work?

Clinical staff from Sussex Partnership and vocational specialists from Southdown work closely with clients to develop realistic routes into paid work. Clients are offered intensive support and guidance with all aspects of securing employment.

Studies have shown that IPS clients are twice as likely to find competitive paid employment as those who used traditional vocational services.

IPS has seven key elements:

  • It aims to get people into competitive employment
  • It is open to all those who want to work
  • It tries to find jobs consistent with people’s preferences
  • It works quickly
  • It brings employment specialists into clinical teams
  • It provides time unlimited, individual support for the person and their employer
  • Benefits counselling is included

Kate Bones, Director of Occupational Therapy at Sussex Partnership, said: “Estimates suggest that there are 1.3 million people with a mental health condition on benefits, with a further 1 million who are workless but not on benefits.

“Nevertheless, there is an increased awareness of the importance of meaningful occupation in the maintenance of good mental health. Evidence from 16 randomised controlled trials show that Individual Placement and Support has been shown to be more effective than traditional approaches to vocational rehabilitation for people with mental health problems, (DOH 2009).Evidence is that people generally enjoy better mental health when they are in work.”



Notes to editors:

¹ Southdown is a not-for-profit organisation and a leading provider of innovative supported housing and associated services for over 4,250 vulnerable people in Sussex. Southdown’s services include housing related support, supported employment, supported accommodation, care and community services.

² Sources: Shift 2009

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides NHS mental health, specialist learning disability and substance misuse services for Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex.

Marketing and Communications can arrange interviews with representatives from Sussex Partnership and services users who have benefitted from contact with the Trust. To arrange interviews or for more information call the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust press office on 01903 843130 or email ann.grain@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: Chair John Bacon CB Chief Executive Lisa Rodrigues

Headquarters: Swandean, Arundel Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3EP.

Website www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk

Working in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and

West Sussex County Council

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