Posted on: 21 October 2021

CNWL staff and service users have helped in the development of briefing papers on the use of personal experience in Individual Placement and Support (IPS) practice.

The papers are Valuing and Using Personal Experience in IPS Practice and IPS Employment Recovery Stories.

They were put together by IPS Grow, a team of IPS experts who provide expert assistance to support the development and delivery of evidence-based employment services across the health system. CNWL is a member.

The first paper’s aim is to provide guidance to IPS Services and their practitioners about the value of personal experience, how this might be appropriately used within IPS practice and the creation of a culture within IPS services that values such experience.

This briefing paper drew on the experience of a group of people involved in IPS Grow from across England, which included Melanie Ball, CNWL’s Head of Lived Experience Work and Robb Hudson, Advanced Lived Experience Employment Specialist, also from CNWL.

Recovery Stories contains the experiences of service users, including some who benefited from CNWL’s IPS services.

One of these was Deborah, who due to her bi-polar has been in and out of hospital over the past 25 years and not had a stable career.

Once she was well enough, she worked with one of our employment specialists to successfully restart her hairdressing career.

She said: “My ES has helped me in work by seeing me every week, making sure I am ok. She helped me understand my contract and payslips as well as complete and send my PW1 form for me.

“I feel so happy to be working after so many years of not being well. I see myself in this job for a long time. Being in work means so much to me, it has built my self-worth and I feel great being able to mix with society and have a normal life. It is motivating me to do more with my life too.”

In 2004 CNWL was one of the first NHS Trusts in the country to use the IPS model to support mental health patients into paid employment.

Since then CNWL has been recognised as a leader in delivering effective IPS services by the Centre for Mental Health, which included CNWL in their IPS Centre of Excellence programme.

Most people accessing mental health services report that they see gaining employment as key to their recovery, wellbeing and life opportunities. In addition, research increasingly demonstrates that being out of work can lead to a variety of negative health effects and socio-economic issues for individuals and their families.

Unemployment rates remain high for people with mental health conditions.

For more information on CNWLs Employment Services click here.

CNWL patients can ask their healthcare lead or psychologist for a referral to Employment Services.