Many people living with mental health problems often want to be working but are either unsure of how to go about it or do not get the necessary support that they need. Having paid work provides individuals with not only financial benefits but is also beneficial to their wellbeing, and research has shown that it can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health. Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence based approach to supporting people with long term mental health conditions back in to paid employment. The Centre for Mental Health is behind the IPS service and strongly believes that any individual that asks for help with gaining employment should have access to locally commissioned IPS services. Evidence has been shown that ‘place then train’ approaches are more successful than ‘train then place’, and is now recognised internationally as being the most effective way to ensure people support people in to paid employment.
The first West Midlands Mental Health Innovation Network (WMMHIN) event was held on 11th May on the topic of IPS. There were a wide range of delegates present from NHS organisations and other care providers, industry, academia and third sector.
The speakers delivered engaging presentations regarding their experience with IPS which facilitated discussions throughout the afternoon including the potential to have an IPS network.
The feedback received was extremely positive from those who attended as well as receiving encouraging comments from Geraldine Strathdee (National Clinical Director for Mental Health) who tweeted about the event encouraging the innovative work being done.