Supporting our participants’ mental health through Community Partners

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Employability support goes far beyond updating CVs and job searching, as many participants looking to move back into employment also face the additional barrier of poor mental health.    

As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme of anxiety, we know that being unemployed can be an anxious and stressful time for many.  

According to research from The Health Foundation, people who are unemployed are far more likely to experience poor mental health, with stress, low self-esteem, the stigma associated with unemployment and the loss of day-to-day routine sometimes contributing factors to a person’s wellbeing.   

This is why it’s crucial that programmes designed to tackle unemployment also aim to improve mental health through tailored interventions that effectively support individuals.    

Through our Community Partnership Network (CPN) model, we’re able to tap into expertise from specialist organisations, providing invaluable support to our participants as they seek to return to the labour market.     

While we are well-versed in supporting participants’ wellbeing ourselves, we’re working in collaboration with CPN members, such as Working Minds, Pure Insights and 3iii Training, to provide a complete wraparound service that helps our participants move forward.   

Through digitally delivered sessions, Working Minds and Pure Insights, provide our participants with a mixture of employment-focused counselling programmes, psychotherapy and coaching. We asked them to share their perspectives on the impact of effective mental health support and collaborative working through employability programmes.   

Working Minds offers our participants flexible sessions addressing a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma and loss.  

Recent statistics underline the importance of this support, with more than 90% of participants who are referred noting an improvement in their condition. 

Simon Coombs, Founder Director of Working Minds, believes that enabling access to mental health support through employability programmes is key to the participant’s success. 

Simon explained: “If a person is experiencing poor mental health, their cognitive ability to connect with whatever else is being offered to them can be impaired.  So, it’s encouraging that addressing psychological needs is now better recognised as it means we can work in partnership with employability organisations, such as, Maximus in a joined-up approach to achieve really favourable outcomes.” 

Pure Insights focuses their virtual sessions on more complex mental health issues, which can include substance misuse and previous convictions – working with participants to improve their likelihood of starting work experience, training or employment. 

In the last year, Pure Insights has supported more than 200 participants, of which 51% reported being ready to job secure or secure employment by the end of the six weeks of counselling support, compared to 20% at the start. 

The collaborative approach between employability providers and specialist organisations is something that Anastasia Massouras, Founder of Pure Insights, argues is much needed within the employability sector. 

Anastasia said: “Proactive and tailored mental health interventions equip the participant with the coping strategies necessary to manage and understand their mental health on a daily basis, enabling them to move forward on their journey back into work. Maximus are completely committed to the communities that they serve and the programmes they’re delivering, which is why the partnership works so well.”

For those that value face-to-face interventions, 3iii Training provide bespoke support packages to our participants, both direct and through our Supply Chain Partner, Futures. 

The sessions give participants a safe space to tackle issues ranging from interview preparation and confidence, to budgeting and healthy eating advice.  

Nic Wharam, Managing Director at 3iii Training, knows how complex mental health support is, and agrees that the triangulated approach between organisations works. 

Nic Wharam, Managing Director at 3iii Training, said: “It’s so important to be person-centred and identify the cause of a participant’s anxiety or depression in order to meet their needs with your services.  This is why our partnership with Maximus, Futures, and the Community Partnership Network is so fantastic. By working together, we are helping participants to move to the next level.”

Matthew Bedford, Community Partnerships Executive at Maximus, said: “With the link between unemployment and poor mental health now being better understood, we can enhance the support for those affected by it. 

“The support from our CPN Partners is invaluable and I’m confident that as time goes on our partnerships will continue to grow and create amazing opportunities for our local communities.” 

18 May, 2023