Employment advisors working in the NHS

The NHS First Step talking therapy service now has employment advisors in their team to complement countywide therapists to help people find, keep or return to work.

Many people with a depression or an anxiety disorder will find that these problems can get in their way of their employment aspirations such as finding a job that matches their interests and skills or being well enough to cope with difficulties that arise in the workplace.

Michael Gregg from Kendal told us: “My problems started following the storm Desmond floods which took a month or two to sort. There were other family health problems which impacted on my mental health and following this I lost my job and income. My problems escalated and I found myself making excuses not to go out of the house and meet with friends.

“My GP diagnosed depression and put me in touch with First Step. Initially I was reluctant to go but eventually I did. It was good to talk about my problems.  First Step were very helpful and after initial appointments I met with Tim an employment advisor. We worked together to discuss the issues and look at the options available.  He arranged for me to volunteer at the British Heart Foundation shop. This helped a great deal to get me out and in to a routine. After this I met an old friend who asked me to work for him. Without the help of the whole First Step team I would have been still been sitting at home. Things will never be the same but at least I’m back out there. Thanks to everyone.”

Tim Cove Employment Advisor with First Step said: “It was great being part of Michael’s First Step journey and witnessing the transformation from our initial vocational assessment to him being successful in finding employment. I found Michael’s referral interesting as I was able to support him by signposting to different support such as accessing local IT courses as well as initiating a new Universal Credit benefit claim. I also helped create Michaels CV which we took when I accompanied him to his interview at the British Heart Foundation shop. I relish my role as an Employment Adviser as demonstrated in Michael’s case, I am able to tailor individual support to meet the patients’ needs whilst complementing the wider First Step team.”

Aidan Quigley, Senior Employment Officer from the First Step service said: “We can help if you are unemployed, looking for work by offering you careers advice and guidance, arranging work placements, identifying suitable training courses, creating a CV, searching for jobs or filling in job applications and signpost to benefits advice.”

First Step sees patients with a range of employment support needs including; those who are unemployed and need help in finding and getting a job; patients who are struggling to remain in work due to their depression or anxiety disorder and those who are in work but are struggling with depression or anxiety disorder.

If you are absent or on sick leave they can also offer support with discussing reasonable adjustments with you and your employer, assessing your job role and recommending changes to manage health and wellbeing at work.

First Step practitioners can refer you to an Employment Advisor for help and support. To access support read full details here https://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/our-services/mental-health/our-mental-health-services/first-step