Evidence based supported employment

Evidence based supported employment (EBSE), also known as Individual placement and support (IPS) is an approach to supporting people with mental health issues to return to and/or stay in work.

Research shows EBSE or IPS successfully supports over 60 per cent of programme participants to find and keep jobs (Drake et al, 2012; Porteous & Waghorn, 2009).

EBSE or IPS is traditionally delivered in secondary mental health settings. Research shows it is also effective in other settings, such as primary care.

Integration is crucial

EBSE or IPS is integrated with a person’s mental health support. The benefits of integration include:

  • an earlier referral to the employment services
  • joint planning of treatment and vocational goals
  • health professionals initiate more conversations about employment directly with the service user.

Ensuring the person doesn’t have to navigate two service systems is crucial. In New Zealand health services and employment services are generally provided separately. This separation doesn’t promote returning to employment or prevent people falling out of employment.

Employment the key goal

Under IPS competitive paid employment is the key goal, as opposed to training or lengthy ready-to-work preparation. People are supported to look for and take up jobs within weeks of making contact with employment consultants.