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IPS employment support information for clinicians


November 27, 2023

Why do we focus on employment as a health intervention?

For many people having mahi (work) is important to their hauora (health), life opportunities, and financial security. There is also strong evidence that:

  • Having the right mahi can play a central role in recovery and can also support long-term wellbeing
  • Diagnosis does not always predict whether someone can work – wanting to work and believing you can work are often the most important factors
  • Employment can support a person’s hauora and recovery, people do not have to be 100 per cent well to start their employment journey or return to work
  • Employment does not necessarily lead to clinical deterioration if the person is assisted to access the right job with the right support.

How does the IPS employment support approach work?

Individual placement and support (IPS) is an evidence-based practice. Clinical trials have proven the efficacy of this approach supporting people with lived experience of mental health and addiction issues to find and sustain paid employment (which can include education opportunities). Employment consultants are integrated into clinical teams and help them to support people to access competitive employment. IPS employment support is based on eight practice principles.

What is the role of the clinical team in supporting faithfulness to IPS employment support principles?

It is important that clinical staff have employment conversations and encourage people going back to mahi. The research shows that appropriate employment reduces the likelihood of relapse.

How can clinical staff start employment conversations?

  • Raise work issues with people early in their care and treatment pathway, and keep raising it
  • Recognise the risk factors being out of mahi has on people and their whānau (family)
  • Respond effectively to the person’s unemployment status and work challenges that they identify
  • Refer people, even those who have enduring mental health and addiction challenges, to the employment consultant in your team and ensure you continue to work together following an integrated approach
  • Revisit issues around mahi to review progress and tautoko (support) each other with employment planning and follow-along supports.

Click on this link to read related resource: Integration in Mental Health and/or Addiction teams. 

Download the PDF below to read the full overview on what you can do to support the employment consultant in your team.


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