A new employment support service has launched in Oxfordshire specifically designed for people experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression.

The team at TalkingSpace Plus, the well-established talking therapies service co-provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, has started a new initiative for people with common mental health concerns who are more likely to experience difficulties in the workplace.

Dr Samantha Sadler, Oxford Health Senior Locality Lead, explained: “If you are struggling at work, returning to a job after a period of absence or are unemployed and looking to find work, our new Employment Support Service can help.”

TalkingSpace Plus is a free and confidential NHS service that helps adults over 18 to cope with life’s ups and downs, feel better about themselves and learn strategies for keeping well via a range of talking treatments like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Around one in four people experience a mental health problem each year while one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety, low mood, depression or stress in any given week.

Dr Sadler added: “Did you know that if you have anxiety, depression, or both, you are also more likely to experience difficulties in the workplace.

“It might seem obvious but because there is still a stigma about mental health and many are unaware just how common it is, some people can be reluctant to talk to their employer about how they are feeling.”

“There may be times when you find life and work difficult: you may struggle to cope with your daily routines or you may become easily upset. We are here to help you.”

The Employment Support Service (ESS) team will use a variety of proven techniques to ‘gain, retain and return’ by providing:

  • Information, advice and guidance on a range of issues including employment rights, benefits and health/condition management
  • Support to access a range of training, education, voluntary and work placement opportunities assistance with job search, application forms, CV writing and interview techniques
  • Support to help build confidence and self-esteem and realise potential
  • Support to maintain existing employment, including support to implement reasonable adjustments at work, support to negotiate with employers and support to prepare for and attend meetings and reviews in the workplace.

“Take that first step,“ advises Dr Sadler. “Talking therapies and wellbeing activities can really empower you and getting access to TalkingSpace Plus and the ESS services is easy.

“We are here to help you help yourself. Everything is confidential and there’s no need to contact your GP first.”

Anyone aged 18 and over and registered with an Oxfordshire GP can access TalkingSpace Plus any weekday by calling 01865 901222. It’s open 8am to 8pm Tuesdays to Thursdays and 9am to 5pm on Mondays and Fridays.

You will speak to an administrator who will take your details and book a telephone appointment with a practitioner. Or you can fill in an online referral https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/talkingspaceplus/contact-us/

*TalkingSpace Plus is a partnership between Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, the charity Oxfordshire Mind and Principal Medical Limited (PML) a GP-led ‘not for profit’ care organisation. It offers a range of talking treatments and wellbeing activities that help people to overcome depression and anxiety.