Partnership with mental health service fast-tracking patient recovery

A successful partnership between Armadale Health Service Mental Health Directorate and MatchWorks is helping Western Australian’s improve their quality-of-life.

Employment is an essential part of recovery for people with mental health conditions. Now celebrating its first year anniversary, the Individual Placement and Support Program (IPS) carefully integrates employment services with clinical expertise to fast-track people back to better health.

“We know if people access clinical and employment support early, the more likely they are to achieve a meaningful and contributing life,” said Mental Health Service Director, Monica Taylor.

“The premise of our mental health service is to support our consumers to understand and manage their mental health recognising their uniqueness, choices and right to dignity throughout their recovery journey.

“This program supports a persons recovery even further by offering a level of self-sufficiency and a medium to improve their self-esteem and confidence.

“Whilst there are challenges for both the employee and employer, our experience of this program has seen patients flourish with the employers investment of time, support and patience. Additionally what we do know is that there can be barriers to people accessing work due to stigma and discrimination but, with this partnership these barriers are being dissolved for these people”.

Over the past year, 38 participants have received intensive support through the program. More than half of the active job seekers currently in the program have already successfully gained employment. The clinical team identifies when participants are ready to join the program and works closely with the IPS employment specialist to support people back to work.

Senior Occupational Therapist, Suma (left) is part of the Clinical Treatment Team who works with IPS Employment Consultant, Jordan (right) to support people with mental health conditions back to work.

MatchWorks IPS Employment Specialist, Jordan Vermeulan said the partnership is providing hope and recovery for people with mental health conditions.

“MatchWorks already plays a crucial role in supporting job seekers within our wider communities, so it’s exciting to see how this integrated approach can fast-track the recovery of people,” Jordan said.

“Our goal is to arm participants with the confidence, motivation and skills to regain their independence.”

Life changing support for Karen

IPS participant Karen said she received life-changing support from Jordan and the IPS team after two years unemployment.

“I was feeling frustrated and really wanted a job but was unsure of what I could even do,” Karen said. 

“I now have a really good job with a great boss, and feel much happier.”

Karen received extensive support so her goal of working again could become a reality. She never missed an appointment and was open to every job vacancy presented to her. Jordan then found a supportive employer who employed Karen for eight hours a week.

“Even though Karen went into her new job with high anxiety, she showed up to work every day with a great attitude and a strong sense of determination,” Jordan said. 

“A significant part of my role included shadowing Karen for the first six weeks in her job and this helped her overcome several hurdles along the way.”

Throughout the IPS program, Karen was also able to access:

  • Communication skills training to help Karen feel more comfortable talking to new people.
  • Presentations and interview skills training to build her confidence.
  • Access to a new work wardrobe to help Karen look and feel her best.
  • Counselling from a MatchWorks Health and Wellbeing consultant to boost Karen’s self-belief.
  • Back2Work psychological support services [through JobAccess funding] to help Karen manage her anxiety on the job.

Karen recently celebrated six-months in her role and describes herself as much happier these days.

“I have more self-esteem and confidence now,” Karen said.

“As long as you keep trying, you eventually get a job with the right support.”

Do you need employment support?

MatchWorks can assist you to upskill, reskill, boost your health and wellbeing, and find work.

Connect with us today. Our services are currently being delivered over the phone [call 1300 13 23 63] and online including video-conferencing.