Message not displaying? View the web version
forward      unsubscribe
May 2015

Get into Work

This is your bi-monthly update from the Individual Placement & Support (IPS) Unit in WA. Read our success stories, new partnerships and our core principle of the month.

In this issue

  1. IPS kicks off in the South West
  2. Getting to the core - Competitive Employment
  3. IPS pioneer awarded Practitioner of the Year 2015
  4. To tell or not to tell – managing personal information
  5. National Mental Health Services a priority
  6. Improvements on the horizon…
  7. WAAMH contributes to Disability Employment Services Focus Group

IPS kicks off in the South West

AN eventful couple of months led to the implementation and launch of Western Australia’s second IPS country site in the South West.  Bunbury Community Mental Health and Forrest Personnel officially ‘kicked-off’ their IPS partnership on 20 March at the South West Health Campus.

Clinical staff can't wait to officially launch the fully integrated evidenced-based model of supported employment, with onsite employment specialist, Ricky Feather, specialising in assisting people with severe and enduring mental health needs to find employment that suits their personal goals. 

Forrest Personnel CEO Alison Palmer said: "Our philosophy is guided by the belief that everyone is employable and has the right to participate in work and feel a valued member of the community."

"We see it as our job, to help others into jobs – to support them to sustain employment, promote their recovery, wellness and inclusion."

All individuals accessing the IPS service will have a tailored employment support program to assist them in securing employment that reflects their individual preferences, strengths and choice.  

Acting Clinical Coordinator Maureen Wiltshire said: “The service will be underpinned by the philosophy of recovery and social inclusion and co-located within Bunbury Community Mental Health at the Campus. IPS is all about working together to achieve and promote a sense of purpose and belonging.”

Connect to Forrest Personal IPS program here:

Photo Left to right- Jo Atkinson, IPS Supervisor Forrest Personnel, Alison Palmer, Acting CEO Forrest Personnel, Jane Swift, Clinical Nurse Specialist Bunbury Community MHS , Michelle Truman, Clinical Nurse Specialist Bunbury Community MHS, Susannah Wells, Occupational Therapist, Bunbury Community MHS , Maureen Wiltshire, IPS Site Coordinator, Bunbury Community MHS ,John Brearley, Regional Manager South West Mental Health, Cathryn Pilcher ,Senior Mental Health Professional, Bunbury Community MHS ,  Ricky Feather, IPS Employment Specialist, WAAMH, Clare Mennell, Consumer Consultant, Kathryn Ashworth, IPS Project Development Officer WAAMH, Debbie Easther, IPS Site Coordinator, Bunbury Community MHS

Getting to the core - Competitive Employment

COMPETITIVE employment is defined as being based in a community setting alongside all other employees and paid at least minimum wage or the same rate as others for performing the same duties.

IPS employment specialists support people with enduring mental health needs into competitive jobs within the open labour market. 

International research shows that people who are encouraged to follow a ‘stepping-stones’ route to competitive employment, such as voluntary work, non-specific work experience, lengthy employability training and sheltered work often ‘get stuck’ and do not achieve their ultimate goal of paid competitive employment. 

Evidence also suggests that people can deem this approach as “demoralising”. 

Competitive employment is the first of the IPS eight core principles.

Competitve employment outcomes require quality employer contacts, consistent job development activities and regular field mentoring on behalf of the IPS employment consultant.  Real jobs for real pay, makes the real difference.

“I know what it’s like to have a job and I know what it’s like to not have a job," consumer consultant Jacquie MacKenzie. "Having employment has been essential to my recovery and sense of purpose."

Find more on evidence-based practice here:

Next edition's core principle: Individual Preference. 

IPS pioneer awarded Practitioner of the Year 2015

RECOGNISED for developing and sustaining practitioner excellence in career development, the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) recently honoured Orygen Mental Health's Gina Chinnery as Practitioner of the Year 2015.

This particular award is given in recognition of excellence in design and delivery of career development programs and services for clients which demonstrate innovation, impact and diversity.

Gina has committed a portion of her career to undertaking the role as Vocational Recovery Worker at Orygen Mental Health Services in Melbourne using evidence-based supported employment. 

Gina featured in an ABC report last year and has since been appointed National Vocational Services Manager at Orygen.

Read more at:

Learn more about Orygen The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health here:

Picture courtesy of

To tell or not to tell – managing personal information

DECIDING whether or not to disclose experience of mental illness to a prospective employer or current employer can be daunting.  It is critical for IPS employment specialists to guide job seekers through a process to plan, prepare and guide them so they are empowered to manage their personal information. 

So important is disclosure that it features in the IPS fidelity scale (

Disclosure is expected to be an ongoing discussion point during someone’s employment pathway; however, as stated by Heilscher & Waghorn, "this decision can be difficult and complex as both disclosure and nondisclosure have positive and negative consequences."

For further details, access the latest research report, titled 'Managing Disclosure of Personal Information: An opportunity to Enhance Supported Employment' from Hielscher and Waghorn (2015) here:

(Image courtesy of

National Mental Health Services a priority

AN urgent need for mental health reform has been highlighted in The National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.  A “big picture” approach and consistency is required to achieve vital changes for people with lived experience.

Within 25 recommendations, across nine strategic directions, the focus included components of person-centred principles, a new system and a reallocation of funding.  Due to the mounting and significant cost associated with mental ill-health in Australia, a focus on extending community-based services and a more integrated approach is recommended.

“People are falling through the cracks, people are being left to a life of unemployment and poverty," Professor Allan Fels said. "We cannot afford to delay any longer. Our priority must be to meet the urgent needs of individuals, their families and support people."

Read the full National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services here:  

Visit the National Mental Health Commission here:

Improvements on the horizon…

ASSISTANT Minister for Social Services Senator Mitch Fifield announced a trial to reduce red tape and administration requirements for Disability Employment Services offering “ongoing support” services.

Providers, participants and employers will now be able to decide how best to work together while people are receiving ongoing support.  This will hopefully free up providers’ time to focus on providing direct support to participants and their employers.

Read more here:

WAAMH contributes to Disability Employment Services Focus Group

INITIATED by the National Disability Scheme and the Association for Competitive Employment Western Australia (ACEWA), WAAMH's IPS Development Unit recently seized a prime opportunity to speak to a stakeholder focus group about systemic barriers of the DES scheme and potential linkages for service improvement.

A range of focus groups for job seekers, workers, employers, advocacy groups, schools and training providers were facilitated throughout the consultation process. 

The information will be collated into a report and used to advise government on the future development of employment services.
The IPS Development Unit focused on the psychosocial needs of job seekers and the need for DES services to be supported to collaborate and integrate their services without being penalised by administrative burden.

WA Association for Mental Health

City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi Street, West Perth
WA 6005


Tel 08 9420 7277
Fax 08 9420 7280