Success of the Individual Placement and Support Team

Paul Draycott, Chief People Officer

As we know a job can make a huge difference to someone’s mental wellbeing and mental health recovery and for some it is their ultimate goal when they are experiencing severe mental health illnesses. Having meaningful occupation can provide us a reason to recover, a sense of purpose, something to aim for, a feeling of belonging to a team, company, local community, and the ability to contribute to society. It can give us that feeling of being valued and appreciated.


Part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s NHS Long Term Plan v1.2 August 2019 vision is to support people with severe mental illnesses who, as part of their personal goals and recovery journey want to find and retain employment to do just that. As well as a national strategy, one of our own Trust’s top priorities is to improve the health and wellbeing through outstanding services and seek to support people have more healthier lives and good mental health.

I know this is already something we are doing across the Trust. Before my recent leave I had the great pleasure of visiting The Bridge Centre in Basingstoke and talking to many fabulous colleagues. One of the topics we discuss within the Early Intervention Team was how we can provide additional support for people using those services through Individual Placement and Support Service (IPS). The issue that they had has now been addressed I’m pleased to say.

I also wanted to highlight our great Southampton Individual Placement and Support Service. It’s working with 333 clients now in paid employment since we started in 2016 and 2021–21 was the most successful year for job placements so far with over 89 securing a job compared to 61 between 2020–21. This year the IPS team are aiming to secure over 100 clients in employment.

So how do they do it?
Our IPS team is able to support clients referred from our Southampton community mental health teams and who express an interest in paid employment. They offer help finding suitable job options, creating a CV, looking for suitable jobs, talking to potential employers about job opportunities and preparing for interviews. The small caseloads mean we can offer an extensive support service to clients, not only find and secure a job, but also in the months after employment to ensure they are able to retain that job. They also support with having conversations with existing employers to help their client retain their job.

The team have been supporting clients obtain work in such a diverse range of employment areas from sales consultants, to bakery assistants, PAs, projection assistants, HGV Driver, Kitchen Assistant, Children’s Practitioner to Funeral Arranger. Something our clients and staff are immensely proud of.

What difference are we truly making?
But what makes it all worthwhile is the feedback our IPS team receive. Felicity has written about her employment journey, ably supported by Charlene, her employment specialist. Here’s what she had to say…..

Thank you Felicity for sharing your experience with us. But she’s not the only one, here’s feedback from some of the other clients the IPS team has helped.

With the support of the Southampton Service, we are working across the wider Hampshire to bring the same resourced service to all. Thank you to all involved in helping us do that.

Finally the Southampton IPS will shortly be going through their “Fidelity Review” — a national process to assess the quality of the evidenced based model that the service use. Good luck team — you have done some amazing work alongside our clinical teams, making a real difference to the lives of many and I am sure the result will be incredibly positive.

For more information on this service please visit our website: Individual Placement and Support Team (IPS) :: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

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Southern Health

Southern Health provide community, specialist mental health and learning disability services for people across the south of England.