WISE Employment’s mental health program returns $4.97 of social benefit to the community for every $1 invested

A Social Return on Investment (SROI) report on WISE Employment’s vocational rehabilitation and employment support program WISE Ways to Work has confirmed its impressive contribution to the community.

WISE Ways to Work was developed to help people living with mental illness prepare for the world of work and be supported on a graded pathway to employment. The program helps participants build key skills such as concentration, memory, problem-solving, and mental and physical health management.

The report by Think Impact Consultancy, explored what socio-economic return the program has delivered to participants and carers, government, funders, and employer partners from February 2018 through to February 2020.

It identified a range of positive outcomes valued at nearly five times the investment into WISE Ways to Work. Specifically, $1,461,057 generated outcomes valued at more than $7,000,000 across its range of stakeholders.

The most significant return on investment was identified for program participants, with the report uncovering substantial improvements to their self-esteem, financial wellbeing, employability, physical health, social connections, family relationships and overall improved mental health.

Thanks to the WISE Ways to Work Program, Isaac – who lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – followed his passion for all things tech and successfully secured a role as a Junior Software Developer.

He was connected with a WISE Vocational Coach and occupational therapist. Working with his Coach, Isaac developed communication skills, strategies to improve cognition and inner confidence to tackle the challenges his disability posed, in particular, speaking barriers brought on by his OCD symptoms.

“The support I received from the WISE Ways to Work Program was critical in securing ongoing work,” says Isaac.

“After completing each of the modules, I discovered a new sense of confidence. I’ve always felt my disability was a hindrance to securing sustainable employment, but the program improved my self-esteem and allowed me to really believe I was capable of whatever I set my mind to.”

“I now have a sense of purpose and structure in my life. For that, I’ll always be grateful to WISE and its Ways to Work Program.”

As well as the positive outcomes the program has had for its participants, the SROI report uncovered profound government benefits at a State and Federal level. This included significant tax revenue increases and reduced healthcare and welfare benefit payments due to improvements in mental health and employment prospects.

WISE Director Employment Mental Health and Innovation Caroline Crosse AM says she’s delighted to see the benefits of WISE Ways to Work are extending far beyond its participants, resulting in tangible outcomes for the wider community.

“We’re extremely proud of these impressive results quantifying the benefits of our work. Empowering Australians with mental illness by equipping them with skills for work has a host of far-reaching benefits for them, their families, and the broader community,” says Ms Crosse.

“These report findings demonstrate that the value of vocational rehabilitation and employment for people with mental illness is undeniable.”

For those interested in reading the full report, please request by emailing Caroline Crosse.

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