Recent advances in supported employment for people with serious mental illness

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2016 May;29(3):196-201. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000247.


Purpose of review: Supported employment is a vocational rehabilitation approach that eschews prevocational training in favor of rapid job search for competitive work and follow-along supports to sustain employment, with the individual placement and support (IPS) model being the most standardized and researched model. This review covers recent research on the IPS model of supported employment.

Recent findings: The evidence base for IPS-supported employment continues to grow, with seven new randomized controlled trials published, most conducted abroad, resulting in a total of 23 controlled studies showing that IPS is effective at improving work outcomes. Several reviews have concluded that competitive work improves quality of life in persons with serious mental illness, and some research has suggested that employment may confer clinical benefits. Encouraging research has been published on modifications of the IPS model (such as inclusion of supported education), augmentations (such as cognitive remediation) and adaptations for underserved populations (such as persons with criminal justice involvement). Recent studies have also described the effective strategies for implementing and sustaining IPS; others have reported its cost-effectiveness.

Summary: Research continues to accumulate on the effectiveness of IPS-supported employment, adaptations of the model and overcoming programme and policy barriers to its widespread implementation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Criminal Law
  • Employment, Supported*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational / methods*
  • Social Behavior
  • Vulnerable Populations