Two areas in NHS Greater Glasgow (NHSGGC) have been chosen as the Scottish pilots for a new service to support people struggling with mental health problems to remain in their jobs.
West Dunbartonshire Community Health and Care Partnership (CHCP) and Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership (CHP) will be road testing a new two-year Employer Adviser pilot called REALISE (Real, Information and Support in Employment) which is being run in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions.
The initiative, launched today (September 1), is targetting large employers with more than 250 employees with referrals coming from NHS mental health teams, GPs, other agencies and employers.
Nicol Rhodes, Senior Employment Adviser NHSGGC, explained: “We are offering an advocacy support at the employers’ base and will attend meetings with individuals and managers.
“The crux is early intervention to help people struggling at their workplace to remain at work before they reach the point where they are absent because of mental health.
“If someone is signed off then we would want referral sources to refer them within four to six weeks and the REALISE service would help them get back to work.
“This would involve liaising with the employer at any return to work review meeting and also acting as an advocate.
“We are not employment law advisors but we can be advocates or we can assist the employee negotiate phased returns or identify training needs. We are modern versions of old staff welfare officers.”
The REALISE Teams have a mixture of skills, including nursing, human resources, careers guidance, training and management.
In a joint statement John Russell, Head of Mental Health and Partnerships, West Dumbartonshire, and Fiona McNeill, Head of Mental Health for Renfrewshire, said:
"Both West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire CHP welcome the role of the Employment Advisors who offer additional guidance , support and rapid access to expert help to ensure employees receive a range of supports to enable them on their recovery and provide the opportunity to return to work. The Employment advisors will also be working in partnership with employers to fully engage with their work and offer further reassurance support staff return to work"
For more information contact either NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]