Message not displaying? View the web version
forward      unsubscribe
December 2014

Get into Work

THERE are now six metropolitan and one regional Individual Placement and Support (IPS) sites hosting partnerships between Mental Health Services and Disability Employment Providers in Western Australia.

Two years ago there were none.

This is thanks to the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH), and the help of the Mental Health Commission, which have been instrumental in developing the sites' capabilities to support people with mental health issues find and maintain meaningful employment.

A further four metropolitan sites and one remote site are currently in the initial implementation process. Watch this space!

WAAMH and the IPS Development Unit wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2015!

In this issue

  1. IPS model honoured at State health awards
  2. Welcome Kathryn Ashworth to IPS
  3. Disability Awareness Week
  4. ‘Recovery through training and employment – Reaching your potential’
  5. Jane courts dream job on her terms
  6. North Metro welcomes IPS
  7. Patrick McClure Supports evidence-based supported employment practice
  8. Mentally healthy poster
  9. Stress less this Christmas

IPS model honoured at State health awards

SOUTH Metropolitan Health Services, The ORS Group and Community First Campbell Page were finalists in the Strategic Partnership category at the WA Health Awards last month, for their Individual Placement and Support (IPS) partnership.

Part of South Metropolitan's success has been the placement of outside employment specialists at three of its sites in Armadale, Fremantle and Bentley Mental Health Services, to support people with mental illness find and maintain paid work.

Of the 118 referrals received by the partnership program, six people with a mental health condition have already found work and four were in vocational training or study.

Evidence worldwide has shown that people with a mental illness were three times more likely to obtain competitive paid work after accessing the IPS program. Locating employment specialists alongside mental health staff improves the referral process by making it faster and more user-friendly, while job seekers also benefit from improved communication between the two parties.

Although the IPS partnership did not take out first place at the awards night, it was still great that this talented team received the recognition they deserve and had their work highlight just how successful IPS partnerships can be in WA.

Caption: (L-R:  Bec Martin (CFCP), Rosalia Dorner (ORS), Marina Chalmers (ORS), Andries Pretorius (CFCP), Helen Ayres (Bentley MHS), Jenny Stockdale (Fremantle MHS), Sharon Purves (Bentley MHS), Mark Pestell (South Metro SLU), Josie Daqui (Bentley MHS), Kathryn Ashworth (WAAMH formally CFCP) and Philleen Dickson (WAAMH)

Welcome Kathryn Ashworth to IPS

WAAMH's IPS technical development unit has strengthened with the addition of full time staff member, Kathryn Ashworth.

In her role, Kathryn contributes to IPS consultation and advice, technical assistance, tools, templates and resources, training, fidelity reviews, monitoring, evaluation, research and advocacy.

Kathryn has more than 14 years' experience working within the Disability Employment Services industry, both as a practitioner and as a manager, across the UK and WA.

Before joining WAAMH, she was the Disability Employment Services Business Manager for Community First Campbell Page and held an IPS Supervisor role based within the Early Intervention in Psychosis Team at Fremantle Hospital. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Women’s Studies from The University of Lancaster and is currently studying towards a Cert IV in Mental Health.

Disability Awareness Week

BUILDING on the momentum of holding joint presentations during Safe Work Month and Mental Health Week in October, WAAMH Individual Placement and Support state project lead Philleen Dickson, stepped up to the podium again during Disability Awareness Week.

Philleen presented to around 40 people, as a guest of the Department of Commerce, on the importance of workplace mental health, the importance of employment and the IPS model.

During Mental Health Week, WAAMH and Department of Commerce teamed up to deliver workplace bullying and workplace mental health themed talks to the business and HR community.

‘Recovery through training and employment – Reaching your potential’

PHILLEEN Dickson kept kicking goals throughout December, after delivering a keynote speech at the Pathways 12 conference held in Fremantle.

The conference brought together a range of professional and academic staff to identify and remove barriers for people with disability participating in higher education and training through exploration of the theme ‘Navigating New Frontiers’. 

In this field of practice, the sector is constantly exploring new frontiers in providing access to people with disability, from adopting more innovative and universal practice models, maximizing emerging technologies, to adapting to changes in legislation and policy that impact on the sector.

The principle objective of Philleen’s keynote address was to explore recovery principles such as hope, choice, self-advocacy and empowerment and the relationship to training and employment for those who've experienced enduring mental health issues. 

Philleen drew on her own personal insight to both engage and challenge the audience on how they can effect change by challenging personal beliefs and offering better access to employment opportunities.

Statistics from the Orygen Mental Health Research Centre this year, found that although people with mental illness wanted to work and complete education and training, they had low levels of secondary education completion, high unemployment, and among the worst labour force participation rates of people with any disability.

Read more on the Pathways 12 conference.

Jane courts dream job on her terms

JANE* was referred to the IPS service approximately one year ago.  From her first meeting, Jane was very focused on the work she wanted to do and had identified the tasks she did not want to do.

Despite her passion for the direction she wanted to take, Jane's greatest challenge was that she had been out of competitive employment for more than two years, so taking the step back into employment felt huge.

To her advantage though, Jane brought a wealth of past experience from a range of job roles and had very positive notions of her capabilities and strengths.  Jane had a very secure and supportive family and stable accommodation and was both energetic and very keen to return to paid employment. 

Jane had previous experience of administration work but was clear that although she would welcome a return to this type of job role she was quite specific about the type of employer and industry that she wanted to work within. 

As Jane’s requirements were specific it took time to identify suitable local employers and then align their needs alongside Jane’s wishes and requirements.

Just over two months ago, with the help of her employment specialist, Jane identified an opportunity advertised in the local paper which involved working for a legal company assisting with native title claims in Federal Court. 

Jane’s Employment Specialist supported her to complete the application and send her resume.  Jane didn’t hear back for a while and it was a tense wait as the role sounded so exciting.  Two months after applying Jane was suddenly contacted directly by the employer and after meeting Jane the employer confirmed that based on Jane’s presentation and previous work history she was ideal for their role.  Jane was delighted!  The role involves assisting in the preparation and running of court cases and liaising with the various parties involved.  She has started work very enthusiastically and is hoping that her role will continue for the duration of the court process.

Additionally, Jane has also been successful in securing part time employment as an administration assistant for a local disability advocate employer and is due to commence in February 2015.  There is no stopping Jane now- she feels incredibly positive about securing two job roles at the same time and is looking forward to the future.

*This is not her real name. The name Jane has been used to protect the individual's confidentiality. 

North Metro welcomes IPS

EXCITING times ahead for North Metropolitan Mental Health services as they implement IPS partnerships at four sites.

Joondalup, InnerCity, Osborne Park and Swan were identified to commence IPS implementation, and this month both Joondalup and InnerCity launched their IPS partnerships with The ORS Group. 

An employment specialist will be based onsite, co-located with both mental health teams. IPS referrals can now be made in these areas and offer employment support for people with severe and enduring mental health needs to access the labour market or maintain current roles. 

InnerCity IPS Project Co-Ordinator Mahawa Bangura said employment was valued because it provided income and status.

"Some people with mental illness see work as part of their recovery," Ms Bangura said.  

Armadale IPS partnership jobseeker Christine Fowler, who has since found work, said she found the experience excellent and received all the help and support she needed. 

"The improvement in my confidence has been brilliant," Ms Fowler said, "We can’t wait to see the outcomes for consumers in North Metro."

The ORS Group state partnerships manager Marina Chalmers said it had been an exciting opportunity to assist Joondalup and Inner City in planning and launching their IPS partnerships.

"We have been very fortunate to utilise the expertise and success of existing partnerships in the South Metropolitan health service," Ms Chalmers said.

"To date there have been 265 referrals made to The ORS Group from Armadale, Fremantle and Bentley Health Services, with 117 consumers commenced in the program. Twenty consumers are already engaged in open employment and another fifteen are going through interviews this week."

Caption (back row): Samantha Cooper (IPS, North Metro Program Coordinator ORS Group), Samantha Kneal (IPS Consultant, Inner City/ORS Group), Doctor Keth Bender (Psychiatrist Consultant / Head of medical service – Inner City), Nicola Hughes (IPS Consumer Rep. (front row): Kathryn Ashworth (IPS Project Development Officer- WAAM), Glenyse Jordan (Acting Service Coordinator – Inner City), Marina Chalmers (State Partnership Manager – ORS Group), Jane Baijal (Clinician/Senior Occupational Therapist and IPS Coordinator – Inner City), Mahawa Bangura (Clinician / Senior Social Worker and IPS Site Coordinator – Inner City).

Patrick McClure Supports evidence-based supported employment practice

IN a recent article, titled Welfare reform must help people with mental illness to find work, published in The Australian, 13/10/14, Patrick McClure made clear the connection between mental health and the labour market.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011-2012) 62% of working age Australians with mental health conditions were employed, compared with 80% of those without a mental health condition.  Mr McClure, chairman of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform, has sought the expertise of professors Pat McGorry and Ian Hickie, and visited the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and Headspace programs in Melbourne to view the positive influence that paid work has on a person’s mental health. 

"Work gives people with mental ill health a sense of purpose and achievement, builds their networks and combats isolation," Mr McClure was quoted as saying in The Australian.

"The principles underpinning effective programs include obtaining employment in the open labour market; a focus on rapid job search and job opportunities; integration of employment services with mental health support; meeting tailored preferences and providing accurate and timely counselling.

"Those with more severe, longer-term challenges need supportive, tailored programs with longer timelines... Meaningful work is often a critical part of the recovery process for mental illness.  A social support system that recognises this, and is flexible, is fundamental to welfare reform."

The welfare reform reference group is developing its final report but has proposed four pillars of reform in its interim report- a simpler and sustainable income support system; strengthening individual and family capability; engaging with employers; and building community capacity.

Mentally healthy poster

ACCESS your free poster online detailing 10 tips you can use to stay mentally healthy at work.

With simple options like drinking more water and seeing the funny side of situations, there is now no excuse for people not to try and turn around their work habits and stress levels.

View Poster

Stress less this Christmas

CHRISTMAS is a busy time of year and despite the fun and festivities, can bring many challenges. Looking after ourselves is vital to our survival during this season.  Here are some tips for maintaining good energy, managing stress, communicating and cooperating well, and making the most of the festive period. 

1.  Positive people management (family, friends, customers)
• Have realistic expectations - stress can lead people to act more insensitively, rush or to be on edge
• Anticipate misunderstandings – aim to be tolerant and patient - you can’t make everyone happy
• Take a Positive focus - tune out bad or inappropriate behaviour and tune in good behaviour.
• Forget any family problems that have arisen during the year. Play the peacemaker for just one day.
• In case of conflict:
• Manage your feelings - Relax & talk sense to yourself – “I’m cool & calm, I can manage this ok”
• Deal with the emotion first – Slow down the conversation, listen to clarify what is being said/heard
• Take one step at a time, focus on here and now and avoid taking negative comments to heart
• If still unresolved - agree to differ and try to change topic or exit situation gently.

2.  Budgeting
• Budget early in collaboration with family stakeholders
• Include extras - presents, food, fuel, alcohol, taxi’s, decorations, postage, pet boarding etc
• Set limits on what you can afford. Do not feel pressure to overspend - it’s the thought that counts
• Make a gift list and decide a $ limit for each person before hitting shops
• Open a Christmas savings account early and pay cash when purchasing - leave credit card at home.
• Be open - others may be relieved to hear you can’t afford elaborate gifts and feel less pressured.
• Purchase gifts throughout the year or during sales.  January is a time to stock up on cards, gift wrapping and stocking fillers for the next Christmas
• Homemade gifts for an inexpensive, personal touch (cards, jams, puddings, picked flowers).

3.  Time management
Before Christmas day:
• Make lists (presents, cards to write, food to purchase, what to cook and when to start cooking)
• Wrap presents as soon as you buy them or get them wrapped at department stores
• If affordable, hire home help to clean the house and tidy the garden the week before Christmas
• If you plan to bake, start earlier in the month and freeze what you can or purchase prepared food, sauces, puddings - you don’t need to be a hero.
• Set the table the night before and plan how you would like Christmas day to unfold
On Christmas day:
• Expect things to take longer than you plan, allow extra time and don’t over load your day
• Assign tasks to each family member - half the fun of Christmas is having everyone involved.

4.  Self preservation
• Try to get some time out for you - even if it’s just 10 minutes
• Relaxation - deep breathing, body scanning, tension release, gentle stretching
• Try to remember your health – sleep and rest, drive safely, eat and drink sensibly
• At the Christmas Party - brush up on your conversation skills - practice starters/endings, avoid topics too provocative or over-familiar, eat & drink well - set limits, slow your pace and keep hydrated
• If work pressures seem to be unmanageable, talk to your Human Resources advisor or Manager regarding options for additional workload or relief support
• Personal strategies and support – See your EAP counsellor – 1800 808 374

These tips were prepared by Molly Robbins and Murray Davis from Assure Programs Psychologists.

WA Association for Mental Health

City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi Street, West Perth
WA 6005


Tel 08 9420 7277
Fax 08 9420 7280