DOCTORS in Huntingdonshire are helping to pioneer a way of helping depressed and anxious patients and prevent their sliding into long-term unemployment. Several GP practices in the district are involved in the new venture, which is funded by the East of England Development Agency. Doctors refer patients to the Retain\/Regain advisers scheme under which employment specialists visit the patients at the surgery to advise on resolving work-related issues that are affecting health. The scheme supports people with depression, anxiety or other related illnesses in maintaining contact with their employer if they have to take sickness absence or are having difficulties at work. The organisers hope the scheme will help break the link between depression, unemployment and poverty by helping workers retain their jobs or get into the labour market. Senior employment adviser Auriol Lamb Cubitt said: "We are aiming to reach unemployed people at an early stage and offer support swiftly before difficulties escalate and the person is in real danger of losing their job. We are also working with individuals experiencing mental health difficulties who are unemployed. "We don't tell people what to do. We aim to listen to people, try to understand their situation and then support them in negotiating and managing change." INFORMATION: Retain\/Regain is on 01223 242267.