WorkFit helps Plymouth stay healthy and well

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PhotographWorkFit is a friendly, free and confidential service for employees who live or work in Plymouth and who have a physical or mental health condition that is affecting their work.

The WorkFit team offers one-to-one support and coaching for up to 16 weeks. It gently encourages people to take a holistic look at their job and their wider circumstances, and helps them to explore their employment options.

The WorkFit team can help people access all kinds of support to help them manage their condition, and, with the person’s consent, we can work with their employer to help them get back on track.

Jemma's story

Jemma, 42, from Plympton, has benefitted from taking part in the programme.

“I first attended WorkFit in January. We had a discussion using something called the ‘Outcome Star’ which helped me look at different areas of my life.

“It made me realise I was no longer happy in my job and that it was having a negative effect on me. I had been experiencing terrible neck pain. I felt sick, down and didn't want to go out anymore. I was also struggling to manage my money. My worries started to consume me, taking over my mind.

“I have to admit I wasn't sure at first, but my WorkFit Change Coach was so supportive. She listened to me without making judgement. We broke things down together, step by step and started to come up with a plan - not just about my work but my life overall. After a few weeks, I trusted them enough to speak to my employer which I would never have dared to do before.

“Surprisingly, my employer was quite understanding and allowed me to have 1:1 meetings with WorkFit in work time. They explained to me that this was part of their policy and that they were making a reasonable adjustment.

“WorkFit spoke to my employer about adjusting my hours in the morning to allow my medication to get my neck pain under control. My boss hadn’t realised the pain I had been in. This was quite a big step for me. WorkFit also supported me to make an appointment with a physiotherapist.

“With help, I started to do a yoga class and also swimming which has helped to ease my pain. I also managed to give up smoking (it took a few attempts). They supported me to do a 'Managing anxiety' workshop, and showed me some apps for mindfulness and improving sleep. Through their peer support group, they introduced me to other people going through similar things and, for the first time in years, I felt I wasn’t alone.

“I also got help with how to manage my finances, which my partner and I have both benefited from. We're not out of the woods yet, but for the first time in ages, I feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to my finances - as long as we stick to the agreed plan.

“I stayed in my job for another few months and whilst it still wasn’t my perfect job, my time off work began to go down. Another job came up in a different department that was much more my thing and I felt confident enough to go for it. I wouldn’t have felt like this six months ago. I now have a job I enjoy more.

“Only six months ago, I was so overwhelmed by everything. WorkFit helped me break things down into bite size steps and now things seem a bit more in my control.”

Want to know more?

If you would like to find out more, please contact the WorkFit team on 01752 437177 or workfit.plymouth@nhs.net. You can also visit www.wellbeingatworksouthwest.co.uk

WorkFit is available to anyone who lives or works in the Plymouth area or who is registered with a Plymouth GP.

WorkFit is a partnership delivered by Livewell SouthWest and Pluss. It is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care.