For ex-Forces patients who are being treated for health conditions, it can be hard to find a path to employment. Low confidence, depression, anxiety and addiction are just some of the barriers that might lie in their way. Here Andrew Pickersgill, who works embedded within Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, describes how this partnership enabled former Army officer Zoe to find the support she needed.
Trust in others
Andrew said: “Last summer I began supporting Zoe. Zoe had enjoyed a successful career as an Army officer but after leaving the Forces she developed post-traumatic stress disorder. She was struggling with her treatment and had little confidence or trust in others.
“Partnership working is important in my role as an Employment Consultant. Zoe was receiving NHS mental health treatment for her PTSD, and I worked closely with her psychiatrist and social worker to help her find the best way forward.”
Patience, empathy and time
“It can take a while to build a good rapport. Through patience, empathy and regular contact, Zoe was able to start overcoming barriers and rebuilding her confidence.
“Zoe made great progress, but job interviews were a stressful stumbling block. I suggested holding a mock interview, which is something that has worked well with other veterans that I’ve supported. The exercise helped her to reset her expectations and relax.
“I suggested volunteering to help rebuild Zoe’s confidence, which can be a great steppingstone for anyone wishing to return to employment. I helped her gain that experience, which looked great on her CV. Through continued support, Zoe was then able to achieve her goal of securing a job in administration.”
Strengthening NHS links
Alongside pilot projects in Cheshire & Wirral, Plymouth and Portsmouth, The Poppy Factory is strengthening links with health services across England and Wales. One third of all veterans who access our employment service now come through the NHS.
Tim Welch, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: ”As a veteran-aware organisation, it brings us enormous pride to be involved in this incredibly worthwhile initiative to support our veterans in finding employment.
One of our key values at the Trust is to help people be the best they can be and this absolutely includes those who have been involved in our armed forces. Since we began our work with The Poppy Factory more than 40 ex-service personnel have been supported. Employment is vital to people’s feeling of social inclusion and we are delighted to work with The Poppy Factory to provide person-centred support to ex-servicemen and women.”