Supported Employment Works!

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (TDHS), and the Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations (TAMHO) was proud to present the 2020 Statewide Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Conference: Wellness Through Employment to a virtual audience in September. Everyone involved in this year’s Statewide IPS Conference would like to thank the more than 240 people who attended!

While this year has brought new and unexpected challenges, the Tennessee IPS community continues to spread the philosophy of recovery and wellness through employment. Success stories are plentiful including this one featuring John Griggs, Employment Specialist Brandi Long, Carey Counseling Center, and Jock Johnson, A&J Salvage. “Right off the bat I was impressed with John from the interview. We’ll go through 25-30 people just to land two good employees,” Johnson said. “But John is an exception to that. Ever since the first day John came to work here, he has been energetic; he wants to be here, he’s excited to be here, and it’s rubbed off on the other employees. It’s been really good.”

Keep up the great work, John! If you missed the conference, there is still time to absorb the knowledge and insight shared. If you registered for the conference, find the content at this OnDemand link. If you didn’t register or have trouble accessing the link, start here.

Conference offerings included sessions from: Mark Liverman, Ed.S, TDMHSAS Director of Wellness and Employment; an interview with Dr. Peggy Swarbrick (8 Dimensions of Wellness); Dina  Savvenas, MA, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and TN Statewide Peer Wellness Coach; and the General Session “Work and the Dignity of Risk” with advocate, psychologist, and researcher Patricia Deegan, PhD. Dr. Deegan also hosted a breakout session focused on ways to provide support in our changing world: “My COVID-19 Safety Plan for Work” and “Personal Medicine” which provided tips for managing stress associated with racism and other forms of oppression.

We can’t say thanks enough for everyone’s support of IPS in Tennessee. Despite the hardships that have arisen this year, IPS programs are increasing in team size, service capacity, and employment rate.

Learn more about IPS on the TDMHSAS website. There you can find an interactive map with counties, provider names, and contacts for agencies providing IPS services for Tennesseans with serious mental illness. You can also get an overview of the program in this brief video.