Mental health: Sainsbury Centre launches jobs support pilots

The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health today announced nine pilots to develop good practice in supporting people with mental health problems into employment.

The “centres of excellence” will bring together mental health trusts, employment services and councils and are designed to act as exemplars of how individual placement and support (IPS) can be implemented.

Individual placement and support

IPS involves helping people find work in their area of preference and then providing them and their employers with as much support as they need so the job can be retained. 

The Sainsbury Centre said five centres of excellence had been set up in south west London, central and north west London, Essex, Shropshire, and Somerset. Alongside these trailblazing sites, another four ‘emerging centres’ have been invited into the programme from Sussex, Leeds, Devon and Nottingham.

Learning from these sites will be shared with other areas of England.

Low employment rate

The initiative has been launched amid continuing evidence of the low numbers of people with mental health conditions. The most recent official statistics revealed that just 3.4% of adults who have contact with secondary mental health services in England are in paid employment.

Sainsbury Centre joint chief executive Dr Bob Grove said: “Too many vocational training and rehabilitation services are ineffective when it comes to getting people jobs.

“Many still assume that people need a lengthy period of training before seeking open employment. IPS challenges this thinking: the priority is to respond to a person’s desire to work.”

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