Jobs wanted for a healthy new start

A partnership between Fremantle Hospital Mental Health Services and employment service providers Community First and the ORS Group, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program has two employment consultants based at the centre for four days a week to help those who are eager to enter the workforce find a job in a field they are interested in.

Fremantle Hospital Mental Health Service IPS site coordinator Jenny Stockdale said anyone who was interested in gaining eight hours or more of work a week would benefit from the program.

‘IPS is an internationally proven evidenced-based employment model known to assist people with serious mental health difficulties to rapidly access and maintain employment with many positive recovery effects,’ she said.

‘Clients choose whether to disclose their mental health issue but the employer will know that they are receiving assistance to obtain and maintain work, so in this way, IPS opens up possibilities to discuss issues such as confidence, stress, flexible working hours, respect and extra leave as required, which encourages everyone to consider their own and others’ mental health needs.’

Ms Stockdale said eight participants have registered their interest in the program since its inception last Monday.

Having gone through a similar process himself 18-months-ago, Szymon Monka knows what it is like trying to find employment whilst living with mental illness.

Mr Monka was able to use a program by local not-for-profit organisation Growing Towards Wellness to help him start up his own horticultural business, as well as giving back to the community by volunteering regularly.

He said it was very important for the recovery of those living with mental illness to be able to work.

‘Work means connecting to the real world and real people, reality away from a protected environment of hospital,’ he said.

‘You can now rely on yourself, and this is good because it keeps your mind occupied, work is the key to successful recovery.

‘The work we do is for the community and has environmental benefits, so the work we do does not just benefit me but receives appreciation from others, making you feel important again and you feel you are contributing to the community.

‘I can now proudly say I do something, something meaningful.’