Resilience Stories during COVID-19 Lockdown

Resilience Story: Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

John Flaherty– (Employment Specialist) from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust shares a story of resilience about one of his clients during lockdown:

“At the onset of Covid-19, like many IPS services we moved to remote contact and adapted to a new way of working with our clients, with many deciding to put their job searches on hold.  However, there was one client on my caseload, a 62-year-old male, that benefitted hugely from sustained input from IPS and continued job searches. He had been severely affected by the pandemic due to the closure of several social networks. Prior to COVID-19 he volunteered at four different places and used the church and other groups to get out of the house on a daily basis. He lived on his own and had no other social contacts aside from mental health services and his voluntary networks. He did not have access to technology with limited knowledge and was feeling very isolated and struggling with his mental health.
When he was referred to me some months prior to Covid, he had been unemployed for 5 years, actively looking for work and accessing support from various agencies with little progress.  He carried lots of frustration at the system and felt his barriers to work were his age and limited ability to grasp technology.  Initially he was very guarded and holding deep reservations as to how effective the service would be in helping him achieve his goal of finding paid work. Following the IPS model, we were quickly able to secure him an interview through engaging with the employer prior, and although he was not successful at interview, he began to trust that he was a priority and believed that he could finally find paid employment.
With a new found sense of purpose we were forging ahead but at the point where the Covid-19 pandemic hit he was sent home from voluntary roles and all his social networks were suspended.   At this point it became clear that the client’s mental health was at risk of deterioration as his coping strategies were no longer available.
Working closely with his care coordinator, we planned for potential relapse and made several interventions to prevent this from happening. We increased phone calls to the client, at one point calling him every day to offer support and to let him vent his frustrations, he felt abandoned and very isolated. With the very real risk of further deterioration it was agreed that I would continue to offer him face to face appointments on site, albeit socially distanced.
We continued looking for work and amazingly secured two further leads and one subsequent telephone interview for the NHS from an application we made back in February, before lockdown measures were put in place.  Following a successful interview in May, my client was offered a role as an NHS porter.  He was overjoyed to have been offered this role.  He is currently waiting for the return of his DBS check and is hoping to start work very soon!
Although there have been real challenges for our team in the current climate, it has been incredibly valuable to have been able to press on as normal with this particular client, to offer consistency and reassurance when everything seems very uncertain. He has communicated that the ongoing support from the service has kept his head above water and is very grateful for the continued support he has received to find paid work.”

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