Individual Placement and Support – Supported Employment (IPS-SE) is an evidence-based intervention that helps individuals with serious mental illness obtain competitive employment in the community.  It is integrated with treatment, and follow-along supports by the treatment agency are ongoing.  Designated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as one of six evidence-based practices, the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center provided the evidence underlying the model and outlined the steps for implementing and evaluating it in a downloadable toolkit.

Since its development in 1996, numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness.  In addition, researchers at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center have introduced IPS-SE supported employment on a large-scale basis.  In 2007, Resnick and Rosenheck provided preliminary results on a national dissemination initiative, which included an evaluation of two levels of training.   They found that key elements required by such initiatives include “attention to all levels of the organization, especially top leadership; clear program objectives; investment in training by experienced experts; creation of an open learning community through multiple media; and performance measurement with regular feedback at both the program and client level.”  In 2009, they confirmed these findings and stated that “successful implementation is facilitated by supportive leadership at the local level, familiarity of the mentoring staff with rehabilitation values, and possession of both skill and expertise in leadership and teaching roles.”

Becker and her colleagues (2011) described the dissemination of supported employment in 12 states and the District of Columbia, using a two-tiered learning collaborative.  They found that the learning collaborative not only facilitated “implementation, dissemination, standardization, and sustainability of supported employment”, but is also provided an opportunity for participating mental health and vocational rehabilitation leaders to “share educational programs, implementation and intervention strategies, practice experiences, outcome data, and research projects.”

NC joined the IPS-SE international learning collaborative in July 2013 and received a four-year grant to implement IPS-SE for individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders in the State.  It currently has about 27 provider agencies offering IPS-SE.  Under the aegis of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services and the NC Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services, four sites—Easterseals UCP, Meridian Behavioral Health, Monarch of NC, and the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health—were selected to serve as research sites in partnership with the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center.  These providers will collect research data for the Center.


Becker DR, Drake RE, Bond GR, Nawaz S, Haslett WR, Martinez RA. A national mental health learning collaborative on supported employment. Psychiatric Services, 2011,62(7):704-6

NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services; NC Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services; NC Employment First Technical Assistance Center, and the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health’s NC ACT Technical Assistance Center. Advancing Recovery, 2014;1.

Resnick SG, Rosenheck RA. Dissemination of supported employment in Department of Veterans Affairs. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 2007;44(6):867-78

Resnick SG, Rosenheck RA. Scaling up the dissemination of evidence-based mental health practice to large systems and long-term time frames. Psychiatric Services, 2009;60(5):682-5