Recovery & Resilience | return to work support
Our ‘recovery and resilience’ programme supports ‘return to work’ for employees currently off work with stress, depression or anxiety.
We’re currently looking to link up with a number of Staffordshire employers to provide free (fully funded) places for employees on a pilot study of our nature-based intervention to run during 2019. We’d be looking to work with employers’ occupational health providers to identify suitable participants to join small cohort groups preparing for a phased return to work.
Our 5 week programme of daily wellbeing activities, helps employees build resilience skills, bolsters confidence, and provides ideas for improved work-life balance. It provides a structured daily routine which prepares employees to return to work more efficiently and resiliently – with less likelihood of relapse. The intervention programme will mesh seamlessly and in parallel with employers’ normal phased return to work processes.
Our aim is reduce the risk of future absence, which can be very costly to employers. Sometimes very capable employees can end up quitting their jobs and falling out of employment, leaving employers with the task and costs of re-recruiting and many months of training (often estimated at £30k). It’s much cheaper to support an employee back to work in an efficient and resilient way – and of course it’s the right thing for a caring employer to do!
We think it’s not just ‘time to talk’, but ‘time to act’ on supporting positive mental health in the workplace.
People’s recovery journeys can often benefit from complementary support in addition to the usual medication. Nowadays, talking therapies and counselling are harder to come by, often with long waiting lists, often leaving employees stuck at home, off work, feeling there’s little support to help them return to work.
This then is our solution – a ‘natural health service’. Delivered in small group sessions, by people who have had direct ‘lived experience’ of emotional wellbeing issues themselves. People within our own team have been there, and undergone their own recovery journeys – proving it can be done, and we aim to instill this hope and inspiration to others. We consider ourselves ‘experts by experience’.
We have direct empathy with those now making their own recovery journeys – and with a helping hand from nature, we provide a nurturing, understanding and supportive recovery environment for individuals looking to make a successful return to work and to build their future resilience.
This service may be particularly appealing to working professionals in the sectors known to have a higher incidence of absence due to stress:
- private sector business professionals
- managers and executives
- academics and education staff
- medical and nursing professions
- other public service personnel, including emergency services
These services may also be of value to:
- people experiencing work-related stress issues
- people whose work has been affected by bereavement loss
- people whose full-time caring role has ended and needing support to return to work
- people who would value a tailored, discreet and private service (separate from conventional mainstream mental health services)
Nature’s Way | why nature as a therapeutic intervention?
It’s now becoming more widely accepted how common these issues are. The more we talk, the more we begin to realise just how many people are actually affected.
Recent campaigns like ‘Time to Talk’ and ‘HeadsTogether’ have brought about much more openness about mental wellbeing issues – including the difficulties individuals often experienced in the workplace environment.
We are different though. We go beyond talking, by providing regular, daily, nurturing and meaningful activities, which draw on the healing power of nature and harness the restorative value that green (and blue) space environments bring.
In many respects we let nature do all the talking! (Although we do always have a qualified therapist on-hand, if ever needed).
We know from our own experience how difficult it can be to be stuck at home, off work. It can feel quite isolating – it can even make things worse. It’s easy to fall into downward spiral, when you have too much time to think.
We discovered that using nature as a ‘third space’, somewhere that’s neither work nor home, it’s the best place to be to start to properly heal and recover. It’s any easier starting point to rebuild confidence and resilience from there.
‘Being away’ in a natural environment doesn’t require much direct focused attention – nature simply provides something known as ‘soft fascination’. Green spaces are full of fascinating stimuli, which initiate the use of easy, almost involuntary attention. Appreciating the sights, sounds and scents in nature can bring us back to the present moment, stop wandering thoughts, and encourage a greater sense of mindfulness and relaxation.
Throughout our programme, we teach our ‘escapees’ new hobbies and interests, while at the same time gradually increasing levels of physical activity to help people to sleep better and sounder. We also educate participants on ‘nature’s ways to wellbeing’, so they learn how to support themselves longer term, protecting their ongoing wellbeing and health resilience. The aim is to lessen the chance of any future relapse.
This service is unique. It’s especially valuable to those employers who genuinely want to support their employees as part of a phased return to work. The best employers are starting to realise that emotional wellbeing difficulties are now commonplace. Modern day life stresses can often over-spill and surface in the work environment. These need to be carefully managed in a considerate and sympathetic manner, to maintain longer term commitment and re-engagement of employees.
This is why we think our nature inspired intervention is an ideal complementary therapeutic intervention, for those who want to get back work more efficiently and more resiliently. It can save the employer money, and the employee heartache.
For more details about our ‘Recovery & Resilience’ programme, please refer to our separate information pages linked below:
- Individual Recovery & Resilience – for individuals/employees
- Employer Recovery & Resilience – for occupational health providers and employers