Improving access to the labour market through social innovation

Finding a job despite mental health conditions poses a challenge. Young people in this situation have a particularly difficult time on the labour market. With a new, low-threshold therapy offer, these young people should gain better access to the labour market. This innovative model is based on the latest research results.

Following a pilot project supported by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, Innosuisse has been promoting the science-based development of this therapy since 2020 as part of the “inclusive plus” innovation project. If successful, the new therapy offer should be introduced and applied throughout Switzerland in work integration programmes, known as bridging offers. The aim is to improve the support of young people facing mental health challenges throughout Switzerland and to improve their integration into the labour market. In the long term, this can save disability insurance pensions as well as social and health costs.

How an SME discovers a need and develops a solution

Lifetime health GmbH, an SME that has been active throughout Switzerland in the field of health promotion and work integration since 1998, offers among other things the professional integration programme called "Launch pad". This programme is designed to enable people to get back to work. In the process, lifetime health has found that many younger participants suffer from mental health difficulties. Some joining the programme have just completed inpatient psychiatric treatment. Yet, there was a lack of knowledge and resources to meet these needs. For this reason, three years ago, lifetime health, together with the ZHAW and with the support of the Gebert Rüf Foundation, developed the pilot project "inklusiv" which supplemented the classic work integration programme with psychotherapeutic modules and expanded it into an innovative intervention method.

An applicable solution for other providers as well

In addition to lifetime health, other providers of bridging services were interested in the interdisciplinary pilot project and recognised the need for a new therapeutic approach and a complementary range of support services at the interface between healthcare and work integration. Innosuisse supports the ZHAW together with seven project partners in the science-based development and implementation of the new therapeutic approach. In addition to lifetime health, this is to be tested and implemented in six other bridging offers in the Bern, Zurich, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, St. Gallen and Lucerne areas. As so-called implementation partners of the project, the experienced providers of work integration measures for young people and young adults are motivated to test the new approach and validate it together with the university of applied sciences.

Innosuisse promotes innovation in all areas

As the this example shows, Innosuisse promotes innovation in a wide range of science-based areas. Not only technology-based projects are supported, but also innovative projects in social work, tourism or architecture and design, for instance.

Last modification 04.02.2022

Top of page


Prof. Dr. Agnes von Wyl

Section for Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology
ZHAW School of Applied Psychology

Print contact