S39: Individual Placement and Support (IPS): A program for fostering hope, personal recovery and inclusive workplaces.

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By September 11, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Suzanne Dawson, Jessica Muller, Vic Renigers, Lisa Varona, Jocelyn Kernot

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Individual Placement and Support (IPS): A program for fostering hope, personal recovery and inclusive workplaces.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Suzanne has 20 years experience working in senior clinical roles as an Occupational Therapist in adult community mental health care settings in Australia and the UK. She is currently working across inpatient rehabilitation and community mental health settings in Adelaide, and is in a PhD candidate at Flinders University.

Jessica is a recent Occupational Therapy Honours graduate from the University of South Australia and is currently working in a research and academic capacity in rural South Australia.

People with a severe mental illness (SMI) are seriously under-represented in the workforce in Australia, with financial concerns and social isolation frequently experienced challenges. Employment goes a long way towards addressing these issues, however in Australia, if individuals with a SMI access traditional segregated employment services, very few will find paid work. As a solution to this problem, Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based intervention that co-locates an Employment Specialist, often from a NGO, in a public mental health community service. The program model aims to collaboratively support people with a SMI with their goal of finding work, and has had significant success internationally and nationally. While research has focussed on outcomes of IPS, fewer studies have explored stakeholder experiences of the program. In this study, IPS participants (n=11), mental health professionals and an employment specialist (n=11) were interviewed about their experiences of the program, with a focus on how the care planning relationship supported individuals to find and maintain work. Results indicated that the IPS program process was a catalyst for the development of supportive environments and relationships for IPS participants, and supported the enactment of care that was individualised, collaborative and recovery focussed.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: An understanding of how implementation of IPS can be empowering and rewarding to both IPS participants, as well as participating mental health professionals who want to be working in ways that promote recovery.

Learning Objective 2: This findings from this study is relevant given the paucity in uptake of effective evidence- based programs such as IPS in Australia.

Lockett, H., Waghorn, G., & Kydd, R. (2018). A framework for improving the effectiveness of evidence based practices in vocational rehabilitation. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 49(1),15-31.
Stirling, Y., Higgins, K., & Petrakis, M. (2018). Challenges in implementing individual placement and support in the Australian mental health service and policy context. Australian Health Review, 42(1), 82-88.

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