Supported Employment/Individual Placement & Support

Supported Employment/Individual Placement and Support (SE/IPS) is an evidence-based practice that helps people with mental illness and other disabilities identify and acquire part-time or full-time jobs of their choice in the community with rapid job-search and placement services. It emphasizes that work is not the result of treatment and recovery but integral to both.

SE/IPS is very different from traditional vocational rehabilitation (voc rehab). It emphasizes consumer choice as well as time-unlimited and individualized follow-along services, among other components that are described below.

Making the Case

Research shows that 60 to 70 percent of people with severe mental illness want to work. Research also shows that Supported Employment responds effectively to consumer needs. With Supported Employment, 58 percent of the people receiving these services are employed in competitive jobs in their local communities. Alternatively, traditional vocational rehabilitation resulted in only 21 percent of the people being able to find competitive jobs in the community.

For more information, see Bond (2004), Becker and Drake (2003), and Drake (1999) in the “Resources” section on this page.

Work is Recovery

SE increases:

  • Employment in competitive jobs
  • Number of hours worked
  • Amount of income earned in competitive jobs

SE decreases:

  • Unemployment
  • Dependence upon public systems of care
  • Symptoms of mental illness
  • Hospitalizations
  • Stigma in the community about mental illness

Competitive Employment improves:

  • Self-esteem
  • Self-management of mental health symptoms
  • Independent living
  • Autonomy

Core Principles of SE/IPS

  • Zero-Exclusion Policy
  • Integrated Employment and Treatment
  • Competitive Jobs
  • Rapid Job-Search
  • Systematic Job Development
  • Time-Unlimited Support
  • Consumer Preferences
  • Benefits Planning

Research and Development

SE/IPS) was created and is studied by researchers Deborah R. Becker, MEd, CRC, Robert E. Drake, MD, PhD, Gary Bond, PhD, and their colleagues at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center of Dartmouth Medical School.
The Dartmouth PRC has provided leadership for national implementation of SE/IPS via the Johnson and Johnson-Dartmouth Community Mental Health Program.

Related Tools and Resources

The Center for Evidence-Based Practices has developed a number of resources to help with the implementation of Supported Employment/Individual Placement and Support, including CEBP-produced materials like posters, reminder cards, booklets, and a series of audio recordings, as well as additional articles, websites, books and recommendations for further reading.

Explore all of our resources

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Fidelity and Outcomes

There are treatment characteristics (components) and organizational characteristics of the SE/IPS model that are called fidelity domains. These domains encourage service systems and organizations to develop holistic integrated program structures and interventions. These domains also provide a structure for a continuous quality-improvement process that addresses multiple outcomes. SE/IPS facilitates systems change, organizational change, and clinical change when it is implemented with fidelity.