Good employment is good for mental health

Blog post by Steve Smith-Trask, Managing Director, Richmond Fellowship (South)

Everyone likes to complain about work – yet employment is proven to give us many personal benefits beyond a salary. From a social network to social status, developing self-esteem to developing new skills, employment is good for us. Being out of work can increase the risks of ill health and disease, and can have a particularly negative effect on an individual’s mental health.

Yet, studies have also shown that 1 in 6 employees are currently living with mental health problems; a study by Mind shows that fewer than half of these people feel able to tell their employers. The theme for World Mental Health Day 2017 is mental health and work, a pressing issue in today’s society.

That’s why employment services are one of the five types of support we provide at Richmond Fellowship. With 28 employment services across England, whether someone needs support to find work or to retain employment, our employment advisors provide individualised support for people living with mental health problems.

What does that mean in practice?

Our employment advisors get to know the person, not the CV.

It means that we don’t have targets to meet or quotas to fill. Instead, our focus is on the individual. We work with each person who uses our service to develop a plan based on their own strengths, experiences and goals, being mindful of the mental health problems they are living with. Our employment advisors get to know the person, not the CV. We believe that people using our services can achieve their goals, and we see our role as supporting them. It’s not a tick box exercise. It’s about working together to achieve each person’s goals.

At Richmond Fellowship, we believe that good employment is good for health. What that looks like will be different for each person. We don’t make assumptions about the kind of work that would be suitable for them. For some people that may mean an entry-level job; for others, that may mean a senior management position. Part-time or full-time, permanent or contract work – we work with you to help you achieve the outcome that is right for you.

Good employment is good for health.

It’s crucial that the people who use our services guide their own experience with Richmond Fellowship and have full ownership over their action plan. To help achieve this, we have recently developed a new web app called Aspire. Created by digital production company Mindwave Ventures, Aspire is a flexible, intuitive, and easy to use online portal to help us better support people in the digital age. Aspire allows people who use our services to work collaboratively with their employment advisor to build their action plan, track the steps they are taking, and tick off goals as they are achieved. We’ve had really positive feedback from our piloting of the scheme, and are rolling out across all of our employment services soon.

At the heart of everything we do is the belief that good employment is good for mental health. Our role is to empower the people who use our services to achieve their employment goals, and live their best life.

 

World-Mental-Health-Day-2014-Blackpool

Making a splash – RF holds anti-stigma event at Europe’s top waterpark for World Mental Health Day

Richmond Fellowship’s Blackpool Employment Service is marking World Mental Health Day with an evening at Sandcastle Waterpark.

This innovative event aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and the stigma around them, support employers in understanding mental health in the workplace, and offer anyone with any questions about their own mental health to come and meet support group – all while having lots of fun.

It’s one of many awareness-raising activities that our services are taking part in across the country to mark World Mental Health Day today (10 October). Now in it’s 22nd year, the day aims to highlight the importance of good mental health, and this year’s focus is ‘Living with schizophrenia.’

Other activities Richmond Fellowship is taking part in includes:

  • For Take Notice Day, Stockport Home Support is holding an information stall
  • Trinity St care home is holding an information stand at Heckmondwike with a bran tub and lots of promotional goodies on offer
  • A stall in Sudbury Market Square, with a live local band and promotional material to give away, is being run by Suffolk Recovery
  • Peterborough Employment Service is running an event at Peterborougn Football Ground to support managers and employers in understanding and assisting employees with mental health problems
  • A Take Time to Talk artworkshop is being run by Face2Face Dorset at Bournemouth University with etching and badge-making, as well as information about mental health problems and support
  • Art Matters, our community art studio in Redhill, Surrey, is holding three workshops at TheLightbox Gallery in Woking while our East Surrey Community Connections team is holding a ‘Feel Good Day’
  • 2Care Trevayler is having aful day of ativities, startigwih a breakfast cluband followedbyworkshos and dicussons bout stiga,a theatre production and dinner
  • Our services in Liverpool are running an information stand in Williamson Square and Our Time will be promoting our tim-bank and showcasing some of its activities, all as part of Liverpool’s World Mental Health Day Festival.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren said: “Every year we support more than 9,000 people with mental health problems and it’s really important to us to raise awareness about good mental wellbeing for everyone. It’s great to see so many of our services working in their communities to bring positive attention to mental health and the support available.”