ORS specialises in assisting individuals with mental illness to obtain and sustain employment. ORS has been using the Individual Placement and Support model and philosophies since 2012 and have conducted a number of research studies into its effectiveness within the Australian Governments Disability Employment Services. A recent study was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

IPS was developed by Deborah Becker and Robert Drake at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Centre (DPRC) in New Hampshire. It was developed as a standardised model of Supported Employment to assist clients with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness to obtain and sustain employment (Lawlor & Perkins, 2009).

There are eight core principles underlying the IPS model. Each of these has been widely researched and empirically supported (Drake, Becker, Bond & Mueser, 2003; Bond, 2004; Corrigan, Mueser, Bond, Drake & Solomon, 2008; Drake, Bond & Becker, 2012). These are:

  • Every person who wants to work is eligible.
  • Employment services are integrated with mental health treatment teams.
  • Competitive employment is the goal.
  • The job search starts soon after a person expresses interest in working.
  • Job supports are continuous.
  • Client preferences are honoured.
  • Personalised benefits counselling is provided.
  • Employment specialists systematically develop relationships with employers based upon client preferences (Drake et al., 2012).

According to published literature, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approach is recognised as the most effective way to enable people with significant mental health concerns to secure employment (Drake, et al., 2012). Developed in the USA, it can be a challenge to implement IPS in an Australian context. The Enhanced Intersectoral Links (EIL) enables the key principles of IPS to be implemented when full integration between an employment service and mental health service are not possible.

The paper, published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, describes how the EIL approach was able to be successfully implemented in metropolitan Sydney to enable people with serious mental illness to obtain work. Employment outcomes of 63% matched published high fidelity IPS trials.

You can read the full abstract to the article here; http://bjo.sagepub.com/content/79/11/643.abstract