Individual Placement and Support Program

YOUNG people managing mental health issues are finding work and study opportunities through a new pilot program at headspace Bendigo.

The Individual Placement and Support program is designed to help the 75 per cent of youth who experience some form of mental health issue before the age of 25.

headspace Bendigo IPS vocational specialists Dean Cosgriff and Colleen Travers support young people attending the organisation to identify and secure employment and study opportunities.

headspace Bendigo has 41 young people in the program with 10 working and 20 studying.

A further 27 young people have exited the program with 14 finding work and five going into study.

“This program has literally changed the lives of many young people in Bendigo which makes it truly valuable,’ Dean said.

“Finding opportunities for young people experiencing some form of mental health issue to gain employment or study places are essential to reduce the risks of disengagement and developing vocational dependency.

“What we need is more great support from the Bendigo business community so we can find more employment opportunities for these young people. For many, it’s all about getting an opportunity and it’s amazing to see what they can make of that. If you can support the pilot program, we’d love to hear from you at headspace Bendigo.”

Young indigenous client Zac has been a headspace Bendigo client for several years having become disengaged from school and struggling with mental health.

The IPS program has supported Zac with a Centrelink youth allowance application and into a Certificate 2 Pre-apprenticeship in Plumbing course at Bendigo TAFE.

“My time in the IPS Program with Dean has been nothing short of great,’ Zac said.

“He has helped me with schooling, opened my eyes up to different possibilities and made me aware of other potential opportunities and pathways to my ideal career.

“Dean and Imogen from Access Australia Group Bendigo have not only been reliable but have both served me well. From helping with essentials for school, to lending their ears to listen, they’ve both helped me see my own inner potential as well as being there to support me throughout my future career.”

Zac continues to work on strategies for his mental health with the support of headspace Bendigo health professionals.

“Ensuring all his support networks work together and a constant communication with Zac’s clinician has enabled him to pursue a goal of becoming a plumber.

“We want to see many more success stories like Zac’s but this will depend on the support of Bendigo business owners and education providers such as TAFE. We would love to hear from anyone interested in becoming part of the IPS program. It’s truly rewarding when you see someone like Zac flourish just through getting support and an opportunity.”

Bendigo is one of 14 headspace centres across Australia piloting the Individual Placement and Support Program on behalf of the Western Australian Association for Mental Health with funding from the Department of Social Services.

If you would like to know more about the program or would like to contribute to changing the lives of our youth please contact Dean Cosgriff or Colleen Travers at headspace on 5434 5345.