Skip to main content

Individual Placement and Support (IPS)

What is IPS?

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a model of supported employment for people with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar, depression). IPS supported employment helps people living with behavioral health conditions work at regular jobs of their choosing. Although variations of supported employment exist, IPS refers to the evidence-based practice of supported employment. Mainstream education and technical training are included as ways to advance career paths. IPS is based on 8 principles.

“The IPS program has been very helpful. The support of my IPS Specialist has been very helpful. He has come out and visit w/me. He really​ cares about my success. I strongly encourage others to participate in the program.” ​

Work is the best treatment we have for serious mental illness (i.e., people with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar, or depression). Two-thirds of people with serious mental illness want to work but only 15% are employed. They see work as an essential part of recovery. Being productive is a basic human need. Working can both be a way out of poverty and prevent entry into the disability system. Competitive employment has a positive impact on self-esteem, life satisfaction, and reducing symptoms (Luciano, Bond, & Drake, 2014).

Until the 1990s, no models were effective in helping people with serious mental illness get stable competitive employment. Even today, only 2% of people who could benefit have access to effective employment services.

The number of studies showing IPS effectiveness continues to grow. To date, 28 randomized controlled trials of IPS have showed a significant advantage for IPS. Across 28 studies, IPS showed an average competitive employment rate of 55% compared to 25% of controls. A meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials found that people receiving IPS services were 2.4 times more likely to be employed than controls (Modini, 2016).

People in IPS attain employment faster, hold their jobs for longer, and work more hours. In 4 randomized controlled trials, over an 18-month period, approximately 3 times as many people receiving IPS services achieved employment and worked more hours, and people receiving IPS services worked overall four times as many hours compared to controls.

IPS is more effective than alternative vocational approaches regardless of a variety of client background factors (e.g., ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status).

Researchers continue to explore the applicability of IPS in target subgroups and new populations.

  • Social Security Disability Beneficiaries
  • Young Adults Experiencing First Episode Psychosis
  • Transition-Age Youth
  • People with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • People with Common Mental Disorders
  • People with Chronic Medical Conditions
  • Families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • People with Criminal History

Information about the IPS Approach

IPS specialists strive to build relationships with businesses by visiting in person and learning about individual company cultures, preferences, and needs. When IPS specialists approach businesses, they do so based on individual job seeker skills, strengths, and interests for work. In this way, IPS specialists may be viewed as an extension of the human resources team at the company with the added bonus of being a cost-free service. Not only do IPS specialists take time and care to get to know each business and each individual job seeker to create a good match, but they are also available after a person is hired to assist with onboarding, training, and problem-solving which helps to ensure success for both the employee and the employer.

 “The IPS support program along with my co-workers and Supervisor here at Oklahoma Joe’s, life has been great! Theo has been very supportive throughout my employment. He has stayed in constant contact with me. he has supported me by following up with me. I thank the IPS program for providing me with a $50 appreciation gift card. IPS rocks!”

Training for IPS

To provide IPS services in Oklahoma, you must be credentialled through ODMHSAS.  To learn more about IPS training and how to start an IPS team, contact Lindsay Horn.

If you are a current IPS team and have questions regarding IPS fidelity, contact Lisa Mears.