APM is one of two for-profit organisations selected to deliver this very important service to Australians with severe mental illness.
These PHaMs services provide support for people with a mental illness receiving the Disability Support Pension or other government income support payments who are engaged, or willing to engage, with employment services and who have economic participation as a primary goal in their individual recovery plan.
Organisations are funded to provide specialist support and work with employment services, such as Disability Employment Services, Job Services Australia, state-funded services and social enterprises, to assist PHaMs participants to address non-vocational issues that are barriers to finding and maintaining employment, training or education.
PHaMs employment services also work to increase the capacity of other PHaMs providers to better assist participants who wish to achieve an employment or training outcome. This could include assisting other PHaMs services to navigate the employment services system or training of other PHaMs staff. They also play a role in increasing the capacity of employment services to deliver better outcomes for job seekers with a severe mental illness.
The role of the PHaMs employment worker will include the following.
Providing intensive support to 10 to 12 participants, for a maximum of 6-12 months, including:
- working directly with the participants and providing practical support to address issues in their lives that have been identified as barriers to employment, e.g. securing stable housing and improving relationships with family
- supporting the participants' family and support networks as needed to ensure they understand and support the participants' transition to work
- communicating with clinical and primary care providers to ensure they are aware and supportive of participants' employment goals and tailor treatments accordingly
Working closely with employment consultants, including:
- coordinating supports for participants, to ensure roles are complementary, not duplicative
- preparing participant profiles which can be given to employment consultants to assist their understanding of a participant's background, current circumstances, skills and employment goals
- providing on-the-job support as necessary, to assist the participant to maintain a job - particularly beyond the 13 and 26-week points, when the capacity of employment consultants to provide ongoing support reduces
- facilitating employment peer support networks and activities
Assisting participants to navigate employment services and Centrelink systems, including:
- referring participants to appropriate employment services
- accompanying participants and advocating for them at appointments and assessments
Providing less intensive ongoing support to 10 to 12 participants, for 1-2 years, including:
- checking in with participants on a regular basis about their progress
- being available to both the participant and employer to assist if circumstances change and/or a participant's job is in jeopardy (for example, the person has an episode of their mental illness)
- building the capacity of general PHaMs services to better assist participants to achieve employment goals, through such things as assisting services to navigate the employment services system and training of PHaMs workers
- providing an education service for both employment services and employers to build their capacity and willingness to work with participants and employees with mental health issues
- publicising and marketing the availability of PHaMs employment support to employment services and other referring agencies
- promoting the benefits of employment for people with mental illness
The new PHaMs services are due to commence in July 2013.