Work Works

in Blog
October 22, 2015

work-works-lgWe believe in recovery at North Range–and we know that an important part of recovery can be employment. A new program serving individuals who want to work as a part of their recovery is IPS, or Individual Placement and Support. Pioneered by the Dartmouth IPS Supported Employment Center, IPS is an evidence-based approach to supported employment for people living with mental illness.

Our IPS program helps individuals with mental illness find steady and competitive jobs in our communities. IPS programs are integrated with mental health treatment, and every person who is interested in work is eligible for services, regardless of symptoms or diagnosis. Individuals who participate in IPS supported employment programs are nearly three times more likely to gain employment than those who engage in other types of vocational rehabilitation.

In early October of 2015, our IPS team was recognized at the Colorado Behavioral Health Council’s annual conference. North Range’s IPS Employment Specialists and their Program Director were recognized for achieving the “highest baseline fidelity in the state.” As with any evidence-based practice, IPS is rated on a fidelity scale, with higher points given the more closely a program adheres to the standards and processes of the model. This is a huge accomplishment for our IPS team, and we are proud to share their success with you. Pictured below are Jessica Mathis, Employment Specialist, Renee Schell, Program Director, and Jessica Winger, Employment Specialist.

Awards like this one are certainly wonderful–but the work our IPS team does to change lives is even more rewarding. One of our employment specialists shared this example of the kind of positive change that IPS can create for a job seeker, as well as an employer:

I have been working with a job seeker for seven months; he has now been employed for 45 days. In the beginning, he displayed symptoms of severe depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and had ideas of suicide. He described these struggles as “lifelong, with no end in sight.” 

Rapport was a slow road, as he was skeptical. Quite creative and experienced in carpentry and antique restoration, the job seeker set his job goal as finding “a job where I can restore hidden beauty or create with my hands things that make people happy.” We were able to connect him to a local business that would use his skills and talents.  

He was offered a position with a 30-day probation period (standard for all new hires at this business). In that 30 days, he rapidly learned not only his position but every other position so that he could cover when and where needed. The employer has repeatedly said that he is the “type of employee that all managers spend their careers looking for.” At our weekly check-ins, he continues to express his passion for creation, that this is the perfect job, how much his self-esteem has increased, and gratitude for the help finding it.  He says he never would have thought he “would look forward to waking up in the morning.” Last week, he said he was ready to reduce support since he was feeling stable and because he wanted others to get this experience.

Work works. If you know of an employer in our Weld communities who would like to work with us, please contact Renee at Renee.Schell@northrange.org.