Award-winning initiative helping equip Fife minds for work
Employ Your Mind
NHS Fife and the Fife Employability Access Trust (FEAT) are working together to create life-changing outcomes for people with severe mental health conditions.
Funded by the Big Lottery, ‘Employ Your Mind’ is helping people to pursue opportunities in either education or paid or voluntary employment. It uses innovative computer-based therapy to help clients devise strategies aimed at overcoming the challenges posed by poor mental health. These strategies focus on developing core skills used in daily activities, including attention span, concentration, memory, and the ability to plan and organize, to support clients as they pursue educational or employment opportunities.
Clients referred to Employ Your Mind work closely with FEAT, which is the first employability project in Scotland to utilise this ground-breaking technology, throughout a 26 week course, where they are supported by a range of NHS mental health professionals to work towards a formal ‘Steps to Work’ qualification.
The partnership was recognised at last year’s Fife Volunteering & Voluntary Sector Awards, winning the ‘Partnership’ category, and FEAT also made it onto a shortlist of three for a Herald Society Award in the same category. The initiative has been catching the eye of other NHS Boards across the UK, as well as enjoying a weeklong observation visit from an Australian charity.
Commenting, Occupational Therapist at FEAT, Inga Davidson, said:
“Most of us can carry out the tasks involved with finding a job quite easily; however, for those with a long-term chronic mental health illness it can be particularly daunting and difficult.
“By nurturing core skills in a flexible timeframe, Employ Your Mind’s computer based therapy builds our client’s confidence, allowing them to gain work experience or a job that provides them with a meaningful role, which, ultimately, helps to improve both their quality of life and wellbeing.
“Furthermore, in addition to our flagship ‘Employ Your Mind’, we also participate in two other spin-off initiatives. The outdoors based ‘Grow Your Mind’ follows the same format and works in partnership with the New Caledonian Woodlands and Falkland Centre for Stewardship to oversee rural and woodland skills training. ‘Employ Young Minds’ is the most recent addition and supports young people from age 15 who have recently experienced their first episode or first diagnosis of an enduring condition.
“Ultimately, the individual successes experienced and the interest it has garnered from organisations across the world, indicate that the programme has been a great success and I am confident that it will continue to go from strength to strength in the months and years to come.”