New report shows employment rate increased in 2018 for individuals with serious mental illness

Individual Placement and Support service programs bolster employment

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In 2014, about 80 percent of individuals receiving public mental health services were unemployed. 

According to a 2018 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) report, however, a 30 percent competitive, integrated employment rate was achieved by individuals with a serious mental illness, an increase from 26 percent in 2017.

This increase includes those supported by evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services. Through IPS, employment specialists help clients obtain a variety of part- and full-time competitive jobs. The jobs are fully integrated and pay at least minimum wage, with employees working alongside others without disabilities. Individuals also receive both mainstream education and technical training to aid in their career paths. Participants averaged 26.89 hours a week and earned an average of $10.40 an hour.

Michigan began implementing the IPS model in 2004. Currently, 21 IPS programs serve Michigan residents through local community mental health service programs or contracted providers. 

In 2018, 1,465 individuals received IPS supports in 18 Michigan counties. This is an increase of 148 individuals from 2017. 

Robert Gordon, MDHHS director, said he believes IPS not only aids in developing the confidence of individuals in the program, but also gives them a sense of worth and a little something more: hope.

“Through the years, IPS has had a profound impact on many individuals across Michigan, making a significant difference in, not only their lives, but the lives of their families,” Gordon said. “This program has helped these individuals by increasing their confidence, self-worth, pride and, perhaps most importantly, hope."