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October 2020

Get into work

Welcome to the first eNews alert for the Individual Placement & Support project in WA. This monthly update will bring everyone invested in IPS up to date with developments and achievements.

In this issue

  1. Passion driving IPS in the west
  2. Employment through recovery in WA
  3. South Metro Mental Health Services take the lead
  4. Preparing mental health services for IPS implementation
  5. IPS knowledge sourced internationally and nationally
  6. Michael Martin joins the IPS project
  7. National Mental Health Commission on employment and mental health recovery
  8. Depression 'hidden' in Australian workplaces
  9. Six tips to reduce stress during Christmas

Passion driving IPS in the west

Philleen Dickson is the IPS state project lead for the WA Association for Mental Health.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Social Policy) from Massey Universtiy and 16 years experience working in the New Zealand mental health sector, where she is formally recognised as a culturally competent national consumer advocate. Philleen has directed her expertise to supporting individuals with mental health issues get back into the competitive workforce.

Working as an IPS employment specialist, Philleen was able to experience first hand the real benefits of employment especially for those that are often marginalised from participating in the labour market.

"Renewed confidence, disposable income and increased independence often follow a successful employment placement for an individual," Philleen said. "Employment makes a real difference and contributes in a positive and inclusive way."

For more information on IPS, head to:

Employment through recovery in WA

Kimberley Mental Health & Drug Services and Kimberley Personnel have implemented an IPS partnership in Broome, WA.

They concluded a review which produced a report with recommendations. KMHDS have run an inspirational program in these early stages.

The review included face-to-face interviews, analysis of documentation, and an on-site observation of the IPS program in action. The strength areas for the IPS partnership in Broome include dual ownership of the program from both IPS partners and a strong Steering Committee with active leadership. 

IPS employment specialists undertake all activities related to employment services from intake, job search to post placement support.  They reinforce the zero exclusion principle of IPS and ensure support requirements are tailored and individualised.

We look forward to hearing more good news in the next review in April 2014.

South Metro Mental Health Services take the lead

South Metro Mental Health Strategy and Leadership Unit area manager Mark Pestell has been an executive champion of the IPS model in the South Metro area mobilising  staff to embrace the IPS approach.

Mark's understanding and support of IPS has created positive gains with Armadale, Fremantle and Bentley Mental Health Services working their way towards hosting Expression of Interest forums and inviting DES providers to tender.  PaRK Mental Health will re-engage with IPS implementation early in 2014.

Do you want to know more about IPS? Visit

Preparing mental health services for IPS implementation

WAAMH IPS state lead Philleen Dickson is working closely with metropolitan and regional mental health providers to assist with IPS implementation.

Mental Health Services have been identified as the key preliminary drivers for the uptake of IPS partnerships. To ensure a fair and transparent process, mental health services (once IPS ready) will be inviting disability employment services to attend an Expression of Interest Forum.  The forum will give DES providers the opportunity to learn about the MHS, their demographic and service provision.  It will also give DES providers the chance to hear about the evidence-based supported employment model and expectations of forming an IPS partnership to deliver this successful model of intervention.

By focusing on co-joint management, co-location following the fidelity scale, and evaluation, we anticipate sites to not only implement the IPS program well, but to contribute to positive employment outcomes for people with a lived experience of mental illness.

IPS knowledge sourced internationally and nationally

WAAMH conscientiously draws IPS knowledge from Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center in the US,  and the Centre for Mental Health in the UK,

Dr Geoffrey Waghorn from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) also dedicates time and expertise to the IPS project ensuring key learning’s from the eastern states of Australia are observed during the implementation, review and evaluation of IPS partnerships.

QCMHR is invested in research and implementation of evidence based practice to improve the recovery and social inclusion of people with a lived experience of mental illness.

For publications in this field please visit

Michael Martin joins the IPS project

The IPS project is excited to welcome Michael Martin as development consultant.

Michael has gained 25 years of experience across a range of senior roles in both state government and non-government organisations. His work has focused on policy and program development and management.  Michael’s broader interest in the importance and impact of work on health and well-being has bought him to WAAMH and the IPS program. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts (1983) and Bachelor of Social Work (1985) from the University of WA.

National Mental Health Commission on employment and mental health recovery

National Mental Health Commission chair Professor Allan Fels was reported saying Australia lags behind others in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development in employing people who have mental health difficulties.

In an article featured in The Australian (September 2, 2013) Fels made a significant statement outlining employment being a prime outcome of our investment in mental health because “no amount of welfare or support can replace the benefits of having a fulfilling job."

Fels also revealed people often withheld information from employers and colleagues for fear of discrimination in the workplace.

With WAAMH leading the IPS project in WA, the Fels' standpoint is closely aligned with the IPS evidence-based model and core practice principles.  IPS focuses on the employment preferences of individuals with mental health issues, assists them with managing disclosure to employers and aims to counter stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and employment.

The National Mental Health Commission recently launched a collaborative initiative called the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance to provide practical guidance to help businesses create mentally healthy workplaces – for more information please follow the link:

Depression 'hidden' in Australian workplaces

According to a national study released by SANE Australia, depression is more hidden in Australian workplaces, with nearly half of Australian workers taking time off work because of depression but not informing their employer.

SANE Australia involved more than 1000 workers in their study titled, The Impact of Depression at Work: Australia Audit, which also revealed Australian workers with depression took much less time off than those in Europe.

One in two people surveyed who hadn't informed their employer of their depression reported feeling their job would be at risk if they told their employer the reason for their time off.

SANE Australia CEO Jack Heath said it was concerning many people still don’t feel it’s okay to talk about their illness,
despite all the work done to increase awareness about depression.

"Depression means more than just 'feeling down," Heath said. "'It's a serious condition which affects every aspect of a person's life, including relationships at work and home. Not disclosing a mental illness increases stress and prevents access to the very support that can promote successful employment."

Heath estimated as many as 2 million people facing mental health difficulties in the workplace.

He said research suggested stigma surrounding mental illness was playing a bigger role in attitudes in Australia, compared with views in some European countries.

For Australians diagnosed with depression, the average number of working days taken off during their last episode was 14.6 days compared to 35.9 days reported by European workers.

‘"Further research is needed to determine why people are returning to work sooner in Australia," Heath said. "It may be people are getting better treatment or it may be because of the greater stigma attached to mental illness."

Six tips to reduce stress during Christmas

Good self-care and balance can sometimes be neglected as we wrap up our workplace commitments and finalise our Christmas celebrations.  It can be stressful!  Here are some helpful tips.

1. Plan ahead:  make a list, get things prepared early and prioritize what is important.  If you can, delegate responsibility and certain tasks to others.

2. Shop online:  The shops can be a place of intense hassle leading up to Christmas, longer lines, less parking, more congestion. Take advantage of online shopping. It is convenient and can save you money.

3. Set a limit:  Decide now when you will have all your Christmas preparations completed and begin to enjoy the holiday period, it is meant to be a holiday. It is also important to spend wisely during this period. Set a limit and budget accordingly.

4. Have a plan “B”:  Things may not go to plan and Christmas dinner could be more stressful than expected.  Be prepared. If you feel your emotional health and wellbeing is compromised, leave an event or function early.  It does not have to be an escape; just a dignified exit to ensure you can re-group or avoid any unnecessary and undue stress.  If the event is at your place, be kind and be clear with your guests and set the tone early on.

5. Keep the basics in place:  Enjoy a few treats, but be mindful of eating good nutritional food, keep hydrated with water, get rest and find places to relax. Be active and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, but keep protected.

6. Have fun!  This is a time to reflect, reconnect, laugh and celebrate.  It is a time to give and receive.  If things go pear-shaped do your best not to get too overwhelmed by it all.  Memories are in the making.  Make your memories fun.

On that note, WAAMH and the IPS team wish you all a Merry Christmas and prosperous new year.

WA Association for Mental Health

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


Tel 08 9420 7277
Fax 08 9420 7280