South Carolina Department of Mental Health

Client Employment Program

Updated May 30, 2013

"Consumers are beginning to ask for more than a survival, maintenance, stay-out-of-the- hospital concept of life. Consumers are now asking for hope-that life will be of quality, productive, and based on equality."

Colleen Jasper, M.A., Consumer Advocate, Michigan Dept. Of Mental Health

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health is committed to becoming a recovery facilitating system of care, as evident by the Department’s mission statement “To support the recovery of people with mental illness.” Employment is an aspiration for many people with mental health disabilities and has long been viewed as a strong indicator of mental health recovery. Therefore, client employment can be viewed as a critical element to the mission of the Department. Employment brings social, economic, and personal rewards to people. Employment helps define who we are; gives us a sense of community involvement and offers hope in recovery.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment Programs

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidenced-based supported employment best practice model. IPS is collaboration between SCDMH and SCVRD. These state agencies have combine resources and personnel to implement the IPS Supported Employment model. The goal of this partnership is to place people with serve mental illness in competitive employment. Through the collaboration of this Supported Employment model, SCVRD and SCDMH are able to provide an integrated and seamless employment service delivery that results in improved employment outcomes for people with severe mental illness.

The IPS Supported employment program afford those with severe mental illness the opportunity for employment in viable and valid work settings with supportive assistance as needed on-site. Supported Employment services are modified to the strengths of each person, facilitates learning and gaining work experience when carrying out a chosen job.

Any individual with a mental health disability who has an ambition to work and needs supports is entitled to supported employment services. Individuals with mental health disabilities should always understand that they have the right to work, and contacting a supported employment program within their communities is the first step. Supported Employment staff always takes into account the person's work preference, as well as his or her interests, skills, and preferred work environment.

Since 2005, the IPS programs have annually served approximately 500 people with severe mental illness and the employment rates in these programs for persons served in IPS have been slightly above 50%.

What is the Return-On-Investment (ROI)?

Data collected from the IPS centers show that the average person employed through the IPS programs earned an additional $533.00 per month. The average annual change in a person’s income employed through the IPS program is $6,391.00. The average cost to provide IPS services to a person is $1,124.00 (Total IPS programs cost is $671,888 divided by the number of clients served=598). The total gain per person served through the IPS programs is $5,268.00 (annual income change per person=$6,391 minus the cost of the IPS program to serve a person= $1,124). Subsequently, the rate of return is nearly 6:1.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Sites

  • Charleston/Dorchester
  • Berkeley
  • Columbia Area
  • Sumter
  • Florence
  • Hartsville
  • Waccamaw
  • Anderson-Oconee-Pickens
  • Greenville

Additional Employment Services

Work-In- Progress - WIP is an independent employment agency that serves people with mental health disabilities in the Columbia and Lexington Areas. WIP follows the same principles as IPS in helping persons served obtain employment in the community.

SCVRD Counselors:  On a regular basis, SCVRD Counselors meet with representative from each of the 17 Community Mental Health Centers to identify individual who wish to pursue competitive employment.  SCVRD counselors provide an array of services, including but not limited to: counseling and guidance, vocational assessment, job skills development, job placement, on-the-job supports and job coaching.  SCDMH provides long-term supports following successful placement into competitive employment.

If you are interested in more information about Client Employment Services in your area, please contact:

Demetrius Henderson, Director of Client Employment and Recovery Services
Phone: 803-898-4275