England’s 42 recently established integrated care systems can help more people living with mental health difficulties into employment by investing in Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services, according to a briefing published today by Centre for Mental Health.
Individual Placement and Support – a guide for integrated care systems reviews evidence about how and why IPS works. It shows that IPS consistently helps more people with mental health difficulties to get paid work than any other method of supporting people into employment.
The briefing says that integrated care systems can ensure that no one living with a mental illness is denied access to an IPS service because of where they live. The NHS Long Term Plan is already expanding IPS to support 44,000 people across England by the end of this year. But there is a long way to go before it’s available to anyone who might benefit from it. So, it’s important that integrated care systems take the opportunity to ensure they are not left behind in extending access to this important service.
IPS is based on eight principles. They focus on rapidly placing someone into a paid job that relates to their personal preferences, whilst IPS workers build relationships with local employers to do so. Employment specialists work as part of people’s clinical teams and support continues without time limits once the person gets a job. Good quality benefits advice is provided throughout the process and IPS does not exclude anyone who wants employment support.
Centre for Mental Health programmes director Jan Hutchinson said: “Integrated care boards and partnerships are now producing their strategies and plans for the years ahead. They will be exploring how to reduce health inequalities and improve wellbeing in their areas. There are few interventions with as much evidence that they can achieve those ambitions than Individual Placement and Support.
“We call on all integrated care systems to invest in IPS. We know that it changes people’s lives for the better and improves people’s health. Yet too many people don’t have the chance to take it up because their local services aren’t yet in place. IPS works, and it’s time to close the gaps so that no one with a mental health difficulty who wants help with employment misses out.”