Team for making IPS workIn the run up to national Mental Health Awareness Week, 16-22 May, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised as a national ‘IPS Centre of Excellence,’ for helping people that use the Trust’s mental health services find work. Currently there are only 15 Centres of Excellence in the country and the Trust will be the first in Yorkshire to be awarded this prestigious accolade.

The Centres of Excellence scheme is run by the national charity Centre for Mental Health to help more people using mental health services with employment.  As a recognised Centre of Excellence, the Trust will act as an exemplar of how Individual Placement and Support (IPS) can be implemented in localities across England.

This announcement comes after the national five year strategy mental health taskforce report published by NHS England recommended supporting 20,000 more people with mental health illness into employment.

The Care Trust was chosen by Centre for Mental Health to pilot ‘Making IPS Work’, a project funded by the Department of Health to extend the provision of IPS to more parts of England than ever before.  The initiative supports people with severe and enduring mental health problems to find and keep paid employment.

Since the launch of the service in April 2015, the Trust, working in partnership with the Centre for Mental Health, has helped 61 people back into work.  This has exceeded the target set of supporting 60 people into paid work during the entire length of the programme.  The project was originally set to run for a total of 18 months, however due to the success of programme, and over 240 referrals, the service will continue to be offered across the District.

People that have used the service, which is based on the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model, are twice as likely to gain employment, compared to those seeking employment through traditional vocational services.

The employment team have helped employers to change the way they view employing people with mental health conditions and supported people to find positions within a wide range of employment sectors, which include: education, finance, construction, admin, hair and beauty and health care. Before enrolling on the programme, many of these people had been out of work for years or had never worked before.

People, who have gained employment, have credited the programme with improving their emotional well-being, making new friends and improving existing relationships with family and friends.  Positive relationships with work colleagues have also been developed as a result; other benefits cited include feeling more socially accepted.  Good relationships and supportive connections are known to help people live longer and happier lives with fewer mental health problems and are vital to health and wellbeing.

David Harper, Individual Placement and Support Regional Trainer at the Trust, said: “The service at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, is tailored to the individual so we understand what their interests, skills and experiences are and we can then tailor a service that meets those needs.”

Employment specialists and clinical teams support people into a role of their choice. This includes job-seeking support, practical support such as managing travel to work, helping individuals manage their symptoms when returning to work and on-going support in the job.

The initiative, Making IPS Work’, has been piloted across six areas in the country, including Bradford, and will help a total of 340 people into work over three years, by extending the evidence based IPS approach to areas of the country where it is not yet widely available.

Centre for Mental Health Chief Executive Sean Duggan said: “Being in work is a key part of recovery from a mental illness for very many people. Only 7% of people using mental health services are in employment yet we know that more than half would like the chance to work with the right support. IPS has been shown to enable at least 50% of people into jobs and to help sustain them. We want to ensure that no one is denied the right support, wherever they live, and we are delighted with the leadership shown by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust in embracing IPS and doing what works.”