4 March 2021

AN APPROACH that helps mental health service users from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic Community background (BAME) to find and secure employment works, a newly released study has shown.

“Individual placement and support (IPS): cross-sectional study of equality of access and outcome for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities” studied the efficacy of two London-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services, including one from CNWL.

The paper explored the experiences of two “mature, high fidelity IPS services”, which together serve six London boroughs.

These were CNWL’s IPS service with data taken from its five London secondary adult community mental health services and the Working Well Trust (WWT) IPS service, which works in partnership with East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) serving people using secondary adult community mental health services in Tower Hamlets. CNWL also runs IPS services in Milton Keynes, though the data didn’t include data from this service as it’s relatively new.

Using figures from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019, the data showed that those able to take advantage of the service over a longer period of time were more likely to gain employment than those who didn’t.

The paper also examined the ethnic breakdown of the communities accessing the IPS service compared with the ethnic breakdown of those using secondary adult community mental health services in the boroughs served.

In both services, the proportions of White and Asian/Asian British clients accessing IPS were similar to those in the population of people using secondary adult community mental health community services.

However, in both services, the proportion of Black/Black British clients accessing IPS was 52 per cent greater than in the population using secondary adult community mental health services: respectively 17.5 per cent compared with 11.5 per cent in the CNWL IPS service and 18.0 per cent compared with 11.8 per cent in the WWT service.

One of the authors was Rash Patel, who is CNWL’s is Head of Employment and Volunteering who said: “I’m really pleased with these results and I’m proud of the service. Clearly there is more to do, and we are committed to developing further but today I want to acknowledge the hard the IPS team has done.”

The data from the whole year for both services showed that 34.7 per cent had gained employment by 31 December 2019 – though those accessing the service later in the year would only have had the opportunity for a very short period of support before 31 December 2019.

The data also showed that 42.7 per cent of people who used the service over a six-month period were able to gain employment.

The figures also showed few significant differences between the outcomes for people of different ethnicities, sexes or ages in either of the services.

The authors conclude: “The data collected from these two mature high-fidelity London IPS services strongly suggest that IPS is equally effective in securing employment for people of different ethnic backgrounds using secondary mental health services. For men and women, young and old there were no significant differences between the proportions who gained employment by the end of the year in which they accessed IPS services.”

You can read the paper here. It originally appeared in the British Journal of Psychiatry.