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March 2015

Get into Work

This is the bi-monthly newsletter for WAAMH's Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Project.  This communication is designed to keep our key stakeholders up to date with project developments, emerging partnerships and IPS milestones in WA.  For more information on the IPS model, go to


In this issue

  1. Will welfare review provide better employment outcomes?
  2. Getting to the core
  3. Peter finds his 'natural high'
  4. IPS to survive Aussie wine region
  5. Mental health and the workplace

Will welfare review provide better employment outcomes?

WITH growing momentum of Individual Placement and Support implementation success in Western Australia, it is pleasing to see the international model of evidence-based practice being put forward as a recommendation to government, by Patrick McLure AO.

The federal government’s review of the welfare system authored by Mr McClure emphasised people’s capacity to work. 

“You want people to be able to realise their potential”, Mr McClure stated in his review.

WAAMH is encouraged by the call to implement job plans for people with disability and mental health support needs.

The report endorsed an integrated approach stating, “the Individual Placement and Support model is an example of an initiative that has a proven approach to working with people and provides tailored support, with an employment focus as part of recovery."

Follow the link to view the Final Report of McLure's Review into Australia's Welfare System at:

Getting to the core

IN the same way we are often reminded that “core” exercises are an essential element to achieving strength and stability as the body’s centre of power, the IPS core practice principles play a crucial role in the way IPS is implemented. 

To add strength and stability to an IPS service, following the eight core practice principles will facilitate positive employment outcomes for people with mental health support needs.

This year, we have introduced a regular feature to highlight a different core practice principle in each edition of Get into Work. In the January / February edition, we feature the core principle of client preferences also known as using a person-centred approach.  In IPS, job finding is focused on an individual’s preferences.
Their strengths and previous work experience are taken into account so that a positive job match can be made.
Client preferences in not about job vacancies, it is about exploring the person's interests with the anticipation of obtaining a job of choice that leads to better job satisfaction and length of job tenure.

Peter finds his 'natural high'

THIS is a personal account of one individual's experience gaining empoyment through the IPS model, as told from the perspective of a Fremantle-based Disability Employment Service representative.

Peter* was the first referral to our IPS partnership.  He had been diagnosed with substance induced first episode psychosis and was experiencing symptoms such as paranoia, delusional beliefs, insomnia and low mood which led to a period of hospitalisation.

Peter had a good work history but became unwell after a redundancy and had struggled to return to the workforce since.   Peter’s goal was to return to his previous line of work; but that meant addressing his substance use given he would need to pass a drugs test.

The IPS Employment Specialist worked intensely with Peter to identify his work goals, aspirations and priorities and to address any barriers, working closely alongside his occupational therapist who supported Peter’s mental health needs.  His resume was updated and local employers were contacted to secure Peter several interviews.  Given his work history and current commitment to secure employment Peter was quickly offered a full-time role via a recruitment agency.  He maintained daily contact with the employment specialist who ensured Peter received all the assistance required to be successful in his role. 

Peter successfully completed probation and the employer quickly offered him a direct contract. Peter hit his six months in employment milestone in December and has since been offered some supervisory work with the same company.  Peter really could not be happier.  He has advised his support network that this is the best job he has ever had.  Peter no longer feels a need to use drugs, because "the job satisfaction provides a natural high".  Peter recently decided he no longer needs ongoing employment support and has subsequently been exited from both the employment program and the mental health service.  We wish Peter all the best for future plans to set up his own business!

*An assumed name has been used.

IPS to survive Aussie wine region

A NATIONAL study has demonstrated the viability of implementing IPS in regional Australia.

The journal titled, ‘Implementation of Evidence-Based Supported Employment in Regional Australia’, Pyschiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 2014, Adrienne Morris, Geoffrey Waghorn, Emma Robson, Lyndell Moore & Emma Edwards, drew on regional applications of IPS overseas and evaluated it against the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

Evaluation of the replication of IPS evidence-based supported employment in regional Australia demonstrated that the Becker-Drake Individual Placement and Support model, (Bond, 2004, Drake & Becker, 2008), is transportable outside of the United States.

Following IPS implementation at Hunter-New England, mental health service results were benchmarked to the national non-IPS program and compared to international trials.  Each IPS site had established formal partnerships between public mental health services and disability employment services.  IPS Employment Specialists co-located four days per week. 

Of the participants who commenced employment assistance under IPS, 95 were tracked for twelve months.  Over this period 57% of the IPS participants commenced employment; 67% had some form of vocational benefit; 45% attained at 13 week outcome; and 32.6% attained a 26 week outcome. A diverse range of jobs were obtained across all four sites.

Upon greater analysis, IPS sites actually performed significantly better (2.8 times greater) than national non-IPS services compared over the same period, in terms of both commencing employment and reaching the 13 week employment milestone (3.5 times greater).

WAAMH held an IPS presentation last year mirroring many of these findings.

Mental health and the workplace

CAN knowledge and education change employer attitudes around their capacity to employ people diagnosed with mental illness?

This was the question Curtin University School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work intended to answer following training provided to mental health practitioners and employers by 55 Central in Perth in February.

The session featured keynote speeches from 55 Central general manager Kevin Dunn, mental health recovery consultant and trainer Amanda Waegeli, and former ABC sports broadcaster Glenn Mitchell.

An opportunity to network and ask questions of a panel on a range of topics enhanced the experience for participants.

Topics addressed included mental health recovery, lived experience journeys, establishing and maintaining healthy workplaces and employer attitudes to mental health and recovery.

Curtin University plans to examine if the training had influenced employer views and aspirations in relation to employing people diagnosed with mental illness.  The Bentley-based tertiary institute will also explore if the training influenced employer attitudes, knowledge and capacity to employ.

If you would like further information about this study, please contact Dr Robyn Martin on 92662756 or

WA Association for Mental Health

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


Tel 08 9420 7277
Fax 08 9420 7280