Vocational support in mental health service delivery in Australia

Melissa Petrakis, Yolande Stirling, Kate Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Individuals experiencing severe and persistent mental illness report a desire to gain and sustain work. Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based approach to vocational rehabilitation to support competitive employment outcomes. Aim/Objective: This study aimed to evaluate whether a joint-governance management partnership, between a clinical adult mental health and an employment service, could deliver a sustained IPS program in Australia. Materials and Method: The methodology entailed a Clinical Data Mining approach, to examine records from seven years of implementation of IPS in one setting within an Australian public mental health service context. Results/Findings: Despite the prevalence of schizophrenia spectrum diagnoses and an older mean age (39 years), indicating that a large proportion of the cohort had experienced serious mental illness for over twenty years, findings were that 46.3% of participants achieved employment. Conclusions: This is an excellent result and is comparable to the only randomised control trial, with adult services, in the Australian context, which found a 42.5% employment rate possible under IPS compared with just 23.5% with referral to external employment services. Significance: More extensive trialling of IPS across clinical services is required, in Australia and internationally, including fidelity protocols, for knowledge translation to be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-545
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2019


  • health care reform
  • Individual Placement and Support
  • Mental health services
  • mental illness
  • outcomes
  • supported employment
  • vocational rehabilitation

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