Work is the best treatment we have for serious mental illness (i.e., people with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar, or depression). Two-thirds of people with serious mental illness want to work but only 15% are employed. They see work as an essential part of recovery. Being productive is a basic human need. Working can both be a way out of poverty and prevent entry into the disability system. Competitive employment has a positive impact on self-esteem, life satisfaction, and reducing symptoms.” (Luciano, Bond, & Drake, 2014)

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based supported employment model aimed to assist people with serious mental illness (SMI), including those with co-occurring substance use disorders, in obtaining and maintaining competitive jobs based upon their preferences. Research demonstrates that the IPS model has a high rate of success when provided as a mental health service to individuals who express interest in joining the workforce.

IPS Teams provide ongoing supports through all phases of job development and continue after employment is obtained. IPS Teams collaborate with local vocational rehabilitation offices, career centers, educational institutions, and community employers.

Mainstream education and technical training are included as ways to advance career paths. Work is not the result of treatment and recovery but integral to both. Work is the best treatment we have for serious mental illness (i.e., people with schizophrenia disorder, bipolar, or depression).

The Alabama Department of Mental Health, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and community partners, aims to support the recovery of people with serious mental illness through meaningful and competitive employment through Individual Placement and Support – Supported Employment.

Denise Bern, Coordinator

More About IPS

Benefits of Steady Work for People with Serious Mental Illness

  • Increased income
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved social networks
  • Increased quality of life
  • Better control of psychiatric symptoms
  • Reduced psychiatric and medical hospitalizations
  • Reduced substance use
  • Reduced criminal justice involvement
  • Decreased dependence on others

One state objective is to expand the Alabama Individual Placement and Support – Supported Employment Program (AL-IPS-SEP) to other locations.

IPS Teams are located in three areas of our state.  Participating providers include the following:

To learn more about IPS, visit the IPS Employment Center at

To learn more about Employment statewide, visit AlabamaWorks! at