“Nothing that I have studied has the same kind of impact on people that employment does. Medication, case management and psychotherapies tend to produce a small impact on people’s overall adjustment. But the difference are often striking and dramatic with employment”. - Robert Drake, M.D
Work is an important part of people’s lives. It often means more than just getting paid. It means being able to make own choices about how they want to live their life. People want the chance to work regardless of the difficulties they may face. Having a job means financial independence, sense of purpose, and being a part of society. For people with mental health, employment is seen as an essential part of their recovery.
Employment has a powerful effect on health equity. Work is cited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the key arena where many of the key influences on health are played out.
Competitive employment has been found to improve:
- Income and wealth
- Health and well-being
- Social networks and quality of life
- Access to housing
- Community participation
- Self esteem
- Financial stability through an increase in income
- Reduced hospitalisation and use of mental health services
- Better control of symptoms
- Potential for skill acquisition
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) was originally developed in the USA in early 90s to assist people with severe and persistent mental illness into competitive employment. It has now been implemented across the world; including Australia and has been adapted into various settings including youth, returning veterans etc (Bond, 2020).