In this insightful interview, we delve into the world of Individual Placement & Support (IPS) with Lorna Griffin and Teresa O'Shea, shedding light on how this organisation is making a profound impact on individuals struggling with mental health issues and encouraging employers to embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

What is IPS?

Individual Placement & Support (IPS) is more than just an initiative; it's an internationally acclaimed, evidence-based program led by the HSE (Health Service Executive). Offering a time-unlimited employment support service for individuals facing mental health difficulties, IPS operates with a client-centered approach, matching skills, experience, and preferences with open-market job opportunities. With dedicated Employment Specialists stationed across Kerry in Tralee, Killarney, and Listowel, IPS assists up to 60 clients collectively at any given time. In Ireland, there are currently 39 Employment Specialists serving approximately 600 clients. Since IPS's inception in Kerry in 2019, it has successfully secured 125 jobs for its clients.

Why is IPS so successful?

IPS recognizes that work is not just a job; it's a source of purpose, a routine that promotes mental well-being, and a means of active participation in society. Through a strengths-based approach, IPS empowers individuals to find meaningful employment while continually educating employers on diversity and inclusion. What sets IPS apart is its commitment to long-term success, offering ongoing support to both clients and employers.

So how does it work?

IPS stands out as the only employment support service fully integrated within HSE Community Mental Health Teams. The criteria for accessing IPS are simple: the client must have a desire to work. This "Zero Exclusion" policy ensures that anyone in need of employment support has access to it. IPS operates on a client-centered, recovery-oriented approach, guiding individuals with enduring mental health challenges towards their employment goals. Delivered through Kerry Supported Employment, it fosters collaboration with the Department of Social Protection.

Employment Specialists at IPS meticulously match clients with jobs that align with their preferences, skills, qualifications, and previous work experience. This personalised service includes one-on-one support, strengths-based vocational profiling, CV building, employer engagement, job searching, interview preparation, benefits counseling, and ongoing in-work support. IPS even initiates Rapid Job Search, commencing job searches within the first four weeks of client engagement when motivation is high.

What can IPS offer employers?

Employers collaborating with IPS can tap into a wellspring of diverse talent, which can lead to numerous benefits:

- Inspires creativity: Diverse perspectives and ideas can ignite creativity in the workplace.
- Encourages open communication: Diversity fosters a culture of openness and acceptance of differences.
- Builds trust: Diverse teams tend to have stronger relationships and trust between staff and supervisors.
- Supports innovation: Diverse teams are more likely to generate innovative solutions.
- Enhances strategic planning: Different viewpoints enrich strategic decision-making.
- Promotes effective decision-making: A diverse workforce contributes to better decision-making processes.

How you can be the change!

If you're an employer based in Kerry, IPS offers you an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals who have experienced mental health challenges. By providing support and opening doors to the workforce, you can participate in this innovative project for free. IPS is a vital step toward achieving your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals.

IPS clients are adaptable, skilled, and motivated individuals eager to contribute to a diverse work environment. The IPS Kerry Team encourages employers not only to check the DEI box but to actively engage with IPS and witness how it can enhance their businesses for the future.

Clients' perspective:

One IPS client shared their journey: "I started IPS with Teresa in 2021 to try to get back to work after a serious back injury and to help recover my mental health. I found the service excellent. Teresa never judged me, always listened, and supported me throughout. We explored new ways to work. I wanted to work to provide for my family; IPS helped me achieve this. Teresa introduced me to my employer; I was supported from the very first day and I continue to enjoy my work. I feel blessed to have worked with IPS and will never forget what the service has done for me and my family. IPS gave me my life back. I would highly recommend IPS."

Employers' perspective:

Another employer who used IPS for their recruitment needs stated: "We recently used the IPS program for our recruitment needs. We found them excellent to deal with and extremely professional in their approach to sourcing the right candidates for us. The whole process was outlined clearly from the start, and they successfully helped us in filling a number of vacant positions within our company. We would have no hesitation in recommending this service and will definitely work with them again in the future." - Kelly O'Shea, Bathrooms 4 U, Tralee.

Conclusion:

IPS is not just an organisation; it's a beacon of opportunity to bridge  the gap between individuals facing mental health challenges and employers seeking diversity and inclusion. By working hand in hand with IPS, employers can be catalysts for positive change in their communities and workplaces, while clients rediscover their sense of purpose and well-being.

 

 

 

Facing Change: Aoife O'Leary discusses how IPS helped her

Find IPS in Your Region

What is Individual Placement and Support (IPS)? Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a specific approach developed to support people who use mental health services to source and maintain paid, mainstream employment. IPS is a service run by the Community Mental Health Service…

What is Individual Placement and Support (IPS)? Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a specific approach developed to support people who use mental health services to source and maintain paid, mainstream employment. IPS is a service run by the Community Mental Health Service…

What is Individual Placement and Support (IPS)? Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a specific approach developed to support people who use mental health services to source and maintain paid, mainstream employment. IPS is a service run by the Community Mental Health Service…