Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has today launched a new report entitled Steps into Work: Integrating Employment and Mental Health Supports Project final report, detailing a two-year pilot project managed by Mental Health Reform and run in partnership between the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, HSE and four local EmployAbility companies, aimed at securing employment for people with mental health difficulties across four sites in Ireland. The report was launched by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, TD.
Speaking today at the launch, Director of Mental Health Reform, Shari McDaid, said, “Steps into Work details a two-year project which piloted a model of evidence-based supported employment for people with mental health difficulties across four sites in Ireland, Castlebar, Cavan/Monaghan, Galway and Bantry. The project set out to prove the concept that by integrating local EmployAbility companies with mental health teams, better employment outcomes could be secured for people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties.”
Dr. McDaid continued, “We know that people with mental health difficulties want to work, yet they often experience significant barriers into the labour force. These barriers include inflexible work environments, poor access to transport, concerns about the retention of social welfare benefits and of course stigma and discrimination. Through this project, and with the integrated support of both the local EmployAbility companies and mental health teams, 36% of participants were able to secure at least one mainstream, paid and competitive job placement.”
Dr. McDaid concluded, “This project has very clearly shown that with cross-departmental and cross-agency partnership putting together the right types of supports, people with severe mental health difficulties can find and retain employment. We are hopeful that the State will continue to invest in this service, so that people with mental health difficulties who want to work, are supported to do so regardless of their condition.”
Welcoming the publication of the report Minister Doherty said “This is an important project that demonstrates how through interagency collaboration, improvements can be achieved in the employment outcomes of people with mental health difficulties. The Steps into Work project has demonstrated the applicability of the IPS model of engagement in an Irish setting. My Department and the HSE will be continuing to work together in the roll out of the IPS model nationwide. This will see 27.5 IPS employment specialists put into each CHO area for a 3 year period. I look forward to seeing good outcomes delivered as a result of this collaborative work.”