Unemployed people with mental health problems are to be helped into work thanks to an innovative project being launched in Levenmouth.
In a first for Fife, those who have experienced mental ill health will be given specialist support to find a constructive activity.
This could include paid employment, volunteering, further or higher education and greater engagement with the community.
The move has been seen as a significant step to offering a full service to people with diverse needs.
As well as helping individual clients, it is hoped it will result in a boost for the Levenmouth economy.
Complete ‘brain training’ will be introduced to help people solve problems in their daily lives.
Participants will also be given cognitive remediation therapy and help to boost confidence and self-esteem.
Only once their resilience has been improved will employability training and work experience be introduced.
Fife Council’s Levenmouth area committee has agreed a £15,000 funding package for the Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) to carry out the focused health and anti-poverty work.
Further funding has been secured by the Big Lottery Fund, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and various other sources and it is thought up to 80 people will be helped in the first year.
In a report to the committee, Levenmouth area manager Dave Paterson said: “In the Levenmouth area there are recognised challenges in securing employment, such as limitations in the local job landscape, as well as accessibility and travel time.
“When these factors are coupled with individuals having to deal with mental health issues the problem is compounded.”
Mr Paterson said the area had become “fairly adept” at providing a strong support service for people looking to return to employment through the work of welfare support officers, adult basic education and the third sector.
But he added: “Practitioners have advised for some time that the skills available to deal with mental health issues do not match demand locally.”
The Employ Your Mind course offered by FEAT will run for 26 weeks in partnership with health workers from NHS Fife.
There will be two separate groups — one for young people aged 15 to 18 and one for adults with complex, severe and enduring conditions and a history of inpatient stays in psychiatric hospitals.