Employment program aids in mental health recovery

Staff involved in the Individual Placement and Support program
IPS Site Coordinator Jenny Stockdale, Community First Disability Employment Services Manager Kathryn Ashworth, ORS Group Employment Consultant Hanna Rungen and consumer representative Jacqui MacKenzie.
July 4, 2014

A new partnership between Fremantle Hospital Mental Health Service and employment service providers Community First and the ORS Group is helping people living with mental illness to find and secure work – supporting their recovery and fostering a much-needed sense of structure and meaning.

Based at Fremantle Hospital’s Alma Street Centre, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program initially sees two employment consultants based onsite four days a week, providing expert assistance to those wishing to re-enter the workforce.

IPS Fremantle Site Coordinator Jenny Stockdale said IPS was an exciting initiative with huge benefits for mental health consumers.

“We know that employment drives recovery, boosts self-worth, promotes social engagement and gets people back into community life,” Jenny said.

“IPS is all about working together to achieve and maintain the sense of purpose and belonging, along with financial independence that we all value.”

The onsite consultants help people find a job that suits their personal interests and needs, assisting with job applications and employer negotiations – supporting them every step of the way.

Consumer representative Jacqui MacKenzie was excited to be involved in the development of the program and said employment was a key step in recovery for many people.

“Employment provides a way to structure your time and gives you a sense of purpose,” she said.

“The increased social contact is a great confidence booster, as is the financial reward.”

Jacqui said having employment consultants onsite made the process of finding and keeping a job much less daunting.

“They have a visible presence, so people know where to go and who to talk to,” she said.

“The mental health team and employment consultants are in constant communication with each other, integrating employment into the recovery plan.”

Jacqui said those accessing the service were treated as people, not patients – playing a key role in their own recovery journeys.