Service Spotlight: IPS Mental Health
At Enable we support people who have employment barriers to find healthy sustainable work in which the individual can thrive. This article focuses on the Enable IPS Mental Health Team, a specialist team that provides employment support for people with enduring mental health issues. If someone is accessing secondary mental health services and have the desire to partake in paid work, then the Enable IPS Mental Health team can help.
Enable has two IPS Mental Health Teams: East and West. The East Team supports people who are living in and around Telford (including Market Drayton and Bridgnorth), while the West Team support people in all other areas of Shropshire. Both teams are made up of Employment Specialists from various backgrounds, all with a passion and belief that everyone has a right to work and that with the right support this is achievable.
Both teams use a specific model of supported employment called Individual Placement and Support (IPS).
Individual Placement and Support
IPS is an individualised evidence-based model of supported employment that is proven to be the most effective way to support people with enduring mental health conditions into paid, sustainable work. Adhering to specific principles that put the client at the centre of the support, the IPS model involves liaising with mental health clinicians and actively engaging with employers in the locality to provide holistic, practical and positive support to the job seeker.
Essentially, if the individual is motivated to find paid work, then we can support them to find paid work that is in line with that individual’s preferences.
Where It All Begins
It all begins with a conversation. That conversation is around the motivation to find paid work and is between the person who wants to work and the mental health professional supporting that person. From that conversation in which a desire to work is expressed a referral is agreed to, created, and sent to our team. Upon receiving the referral an Employment Specialist (ES) is allocated according to the client’s location and the ES contacts that job seeker to arrange the all-important initial meeting.
Please note – If you’re unclear whether your mental health support can refer them into our service, please call the Enable office and guidance on this will be given.
Getting To Know You
The Enable Employment Specialist (ES) is in the privileged position of being able to support job seekers positively and proactively, making a difference to a person’s circumstance and recovery by creatively finding ways to open doors to the world of work for individuals who may feel or have been told that employment is beyond their grasp. Healthy, sustainable work is integral to the wellbeing of those who want to work, and our team passionately believe that anyone who wants to work can attain work. Whilst the barriers may seem insurmountable, working with your ES will help to manage these barriers and support you to move forward.
In order to do this the Enable ES needs to get to know the person that they are supporting. During the initial meeting and subsequent meetings, we are keen to gain an understanding of the client’s preferences, focusing on the individual’s strengths, their goals, and what barriers may be stopping that person moving into employment, which can be wide-ranging and challenging.
The direction of the job search is explored and agreed upon according to the client’s preferences. It is important to find out what it is about work that is important for that person in order to remain motivated and for the work to be sustainable.
Then a plan is agreed and acted upon by both the client and the Employment Specialist.
A plan is devised between the client and the ES that focuses on attaining paid work. A clear plan that is specific for the individual is essential and is revisited and revised as the job search gains momentum.
The ES works creatively with the job seeker and can contribute to the job search pro-actively in many ways, such as:
- Assisting in the creation of an honest, positive CV that focuses on skills and qualities.
- Interviews – We can arrange mock interviews, explore work trials with an employer and even attend joint interviews with the client.
- Discussions around sharing your personal health information with an employer and planning how to do this effectively if you choose to.
- Engaging employers – An important part of what the IPS team do is engaging with employers in the locality and seeking out businesses that are relevant to their client’s job search.
- Benefits counselling – Having access to timely and expert benefits advice is key – we do not want anyone to be worse off for working and better off calculations are arranged with the CAB to enable informed decisions.
- Resilience – We can all experience knock backs when finding work and the ES is there to help the job seeker reflect, adjust plans accordingly, and move forward.
These are just a few examples how the IPS team can help the client’s job search. Whilst the job search is progressing, the ES is busy speaking to employers and maintaining contact with clinical staff to ensure well-rounded support.
It could be that the person who is seeking support already has a job, are struggling with an aspect of the role and are in danger of losing their job; support is required to help retain their job. The Enable IPS Mental Health team have workers who specialise in retention work and can work creatively to help that person keep their job. For example, the retention specialist can contact the employer and work with both employer and employee to negotiate reasonable adjustments, or devise strategies to keep the employee healthy and productive in the role and regain lost confidence or security in their job.
Once the job seeker has found work then it is important to ensure the best job start possible. The client will work with the ES to put together an In-Work Support Plan to keep that person healthy in work and get the most out of their new job. In addition to this the ES’s support is on-going and as part of the In-Work Support Plan, the ES will remain in contact and be available to support whilst the client settles into the role.
To witness the job seeking individual achieve employment and flourish in their new role, despite the challenges faced, is incredibly motivating for the IPS Team, fuelling their passion to support their clients to progress and find their place in the world of work.