Individual placement and support is “by far the most effective way” of helping people with severe and enduring mental health problems into mainstream employment.
That was the message from Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, which is inviting expressions of interest from NHS trusts and other services to adopt the model.
Individual placement and support (IPS), recommended by the government’s Social Exclusion Task Force in 2006, makes gaining paid employment in a competitive environment part of a person’s care plan. The person-centred approach also ensures work-related support is available for as long as is necessary.
Sainsbury Centre’s briefing paper, Doing What Works, cited a 2007 study tracking participants in the UK and five other European countries.
It found they were twice as likely to gain employment, held jobs for longer, and enjoyed higher salaries than participants in more traditional methods of vocational rehabilitation.
However, the paper stressed that the model’s success depended on the seven IPS principles being implemented in full.
For example, mental health teams must work alongside employment specialists, drawing on their knowledge of local job markets and needs of employers.
According to a Healthcare Commission survey in 2008, only 22% of people using specialist mental health services said they were in paid work or full-time education. This compares with an average employment rate of 74% in the UK.
Simon Lawton-Smith, head of policy at the Mental Health Foundation, said it was vital that mental health services and JobCentre Plus staff adopted the principles of IPS.
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Sainsbury Centre for Mental HealthFind out more at Community Care LIVE 2009