S58: Employ Your Mind: Improving thinking skills for work and community engagement.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Anne Miles, Julie Hilton, Michael Judd

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Change, Innovation, Reform,Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to increase attendees’ understanding of how cognitive impairments can affect people’s ability to engage in work and other activities, and how structured interventions such as Employ Your Mind (EYM) can help build key thinking skills and confidence.

Mental illness can affect cognitive functioning skills such as planning, problem-solving and concentration. This, in turn, can limit people’s capacity to engage with their community and gain employment.

Employ Your Mind (EYM) is an innovative approach to help people improve these skills, developed in Scotland by Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT).

St Vincent’s Mental Health and WISE Employment are working in partnership with FEAT to introduce the program into Australia. EYM is a six-month program combining cognitive remediation exercises with individual projects and work experience to develop and reinforce the skills developed.

WISE Employment is delivering the program with three partner organisations in Victoria and St Vincent’s Mental Health is evaluating the pilot program. The evaluation will be completed later in 2017 but preliminary feedback from staff and participants has been positive with reports that EYM has made a positive difference to people’s sense of self-efficacy, thinking skills and confidence to pursue work or volunteering.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Attendees will gain improved understanding of the use of a structured intervention to assist in overcoming a key barrier to achieving employment and related goals.

Learning Objective 2: This project is relevant to mental health services as the new funding environment of the NDIS will increase opportunities for services to provide interventions that assist people to develop work-readiness skills.

Fioravanti, M., Bianchi, V., Cinti, ME. (2012) Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia: an updated metanalysis of the scientific evidence, BMC Psychiatry, 12:64.
Hurford, I.M., Kalkstein, S., Hurford, M.O. (2011) Cognitive Rehabilitation in Schizhoprenia, Psychiatric Times, March 15 2011
Medalia, A., Revheim, N., Herlands, T. (2009) Cognitive Remediation for Psychological sDisorders – Therapists Guide. Oxford University Press, NY.

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