Research and policy reports

Research and policy reports

IPS was developed by the IPS Supported Employment Center in the USA and is the most evidence-based and effective supported employment and education program used in mental health services worldwide. Twenty-eight randomised control trials have shown IPS outperforms conventional vocational approaches for individuals experiencing mental ill-health.

Literature suggests that in every trial, IPS has been found to be superior in the rate of competitive employment, money earned, and other measures, with medium to large effect sizes. Notably, these outcomes have been demonstrated across different countries, labour markets, prevailing economic conditions, and attitudes towards mental illness.

Orygen’s IPS research includes:

  • IPS for young people with first episode psychosis. In the trial, 146 young people attending Orygen’s Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) for first episode psychosis were randomly assigned to receive either their usual treatment plus IPS, or treatment as usual without IPS. Each group was followed up at six-month intervals for a period of 12 months following the trial. The results have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
  • $1.3M to trial an evidence-based approach to supported employment and education services for young people with borderline personality disorder (BPD).  Integrating IPS supported employment and education services with early intervention for BPD, the trial will test whether IPS will improve vocational outcomes for young people with BPD.
  • Orygen, in partnership with headspace Bondi Junction, are delivering an intervention to 200 young people who require assistance in reconnecting to, or staying in, education. Funding from the James Kirby Foundation has allowed an Individual Placement and Support Education (IPSed) worker to be employed at headspace Bondi, and for research to be undertaken into the educational outcomes of young people involved in the program delivered by the IPSed specialist.
  • The Reduce Trial is testing whether young people with first episode psychosis can make better functional recovery with less or no medication compared to those who are maintained on their medication. All participants are offered IPS support as part of this project.  Reduce is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and is expected complete in 2023.

Professor Eóin Killackey, director of research and head of functional recovery research at Orygen, is recognised as an international leader in vocational recovery research, with his work forming the basis of the Tell Them They’re Dreaming report on Work, Education and Young People with Mental Illness in Australia. The report strongly supported the IPS model as an effective and cost-effective program to support young people with an experience of mental ill-health into work or study

In 2020, the Productivity Commission inquiry into Mental Health recognised the level of evidence for IPS and recommended that the Australian Government consider a staged-roll out of IPS into all community mental health services across the country.   

Orygen’s 2021 Individual Placement and Support policy briefing paper calls for the Australia-wide rollout of the model. Summarising the most recent evidence to support this recommendation, it details future opportunities to further enhance and augment the traditional model so that it best meets the needs of young people experiencing mental ill-health.