Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Services 

About us

We work closely with clinical teams and local employers and provide ongoing, individualised support as well as benefits counselling.

The service is provided by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust IPS Employment team and we pride ourselves on providing an individualised service to help find the right person for the right role.

Contact us

Call 0300 421 3149

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Looking for work?

Our IPS specialists provide advice and practical support to help our clients find employment and enjoy the benefits that brings.

If you are a working-age adult with a serious mental health illness and you currently receive support from Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Secondary Mental Health Services, we can help you find paid part-time or full-time employment opportunities. We work closely with clinical teams and local employers and provide ongoing, individualised support as well as benefits counselling.

We know that the right employment can help with your recovery from a serious mental health illness, by providing financial stability, independence as well as opportunities to meet new people and be part of a team.  A structured, fulfilling day can help improve health and wellbeing and can build your self-esteem.

The service is provided by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust IPS Employment Services and we pride ourselves on providing an individualised service to help find the right role for the right person, regardless of job experience.

We know that getting into employment can be a vital part of your recovery journey and our Employment Specialists work alongside mental health nurses, social workers and psychologists to help you get into work, to stay healthy and to retain the work.

We provide a range of practical support, including:  

  • Job searches
  • Support to write CVs, cover letters and personal statements
  • Support to access benefits advice
  • Support to apply for jobs and prepare for job interviews
  • Support to sustain and retain employment
  • Support to build confidence around returning to work

Individual Placement and Support (IPS)

Starting competitive paid employment can be an integral part of a client’s recovery journey.

People with severe mental health problems who find paid employment show reduced symptoms, improved quality of life and financial independence. Our Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Services Team works closely with clients who would like to return to work, providing an accessible and individualised service. Clients like Benji who now has paid employment at Cheltenham Town Football Club. Watch a video about Benji’s experience:

Our Individual Placement and Support (IPS) with Benji – short video

Our Individual Placement and Support (IPS) with Benji – full video


Start your career with IPS today

Employment should be part of getting better, not a result of getting better. If you are receiving treatment from the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust services such as the Assertive Outreach Team, Eating Disorder team, GRIP or the Recovery Team and are aged over 18 and willing to start an active job search for paid work within 4 weeks of your first IPS appointment, you can get a referral to our service from:

  • Your care coordinator
  • Your community psychiatric nurse
  • Your recovery worker
  • Your key worker

Looking for employees?

We can help your business to be inclusive, socially responsible and to attract skilled, motivated, productive and conscientious workers.

If you are looking for conscientious, skilled workers and are committed to tackling discrimination in your workplace, we can help you.

Attracting talented individuals

Many people with a mental health issue have valuable work skills and experience and can manage their condition so it has no impact on their ability to do their job.

Ignorance, stigma and discrimination can be major obstacles for people with mental health issues, but with our support, our clients are productive and fulfilled employees.

Our Employment Specialists support clients and employers for as long as required. We work with employers to ensure you make the most of individuals’ skills and experience.

We can also help you comply with legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act plus we provide free work-based training and support in managing mental health.

It is a win-win as through our support, our clients are better able  to support your business, have increased productivity and reduced sickness rates. Your workforce may feel more supported and able to discuss issues and ideas with you!

How it works

We work closely with clinical teams and local employers and provide ongoing, individualised support as well as benefits counselling.

The service is provided by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust IPS Employment team and we pride ourselves on providing an individualised service to help find the right person for the right role.

Read some of our success stories

Making a difference for our clients
Karen IPSKaren Hogarty-Hingston is an Employment Specialist within our IPS team. Employment specialists like Karen can work with you to help your business to be inclusive, socially responsible and to attract skilled, motivated, productive and conscientious workers free of charge to both you and your employee.

Our Employment Specialists work alongside clinicians at our Trust to help service users get into work, to stay healthy and to retain the work. They also help with job searching, job applications, CV writing, interview preparation, in work support, including self-employment.

If you would like to find out more, contact our IPS team

Karen has worked in mental health in England for 20 years after relocating from South Africa 21 years ago. Based in Cirencester, she supports clients with enduring mental health in the secondary services to get paid employment, to educate and work with employers to encourage them to support clients and make the necessary adjustments to enable them to stay in work.

“I am passionate about supporting people with managing their mental health and empowering them to be able to live the best life they can and in doing this also breaking the stigma around mental health in the work place.”

Here are just a few of our service users who Karen has supported:


Sheila’s recovery storySheila Halle jpg

This is my story! Back in 2015, I had a major breakdown which resulted in me having to leave my job. I was referred to the Mental Health team. This is when I met Karen Hogarty-Hingston. She was my inspiration! I had lost all of my confidence and had closed up but Karen coached me and helped me get through. She arranged an interview for me and I was offered the job straight away! I have been working there every since. I have become a stronger and more confident person and am very happy in my work place. Without the help of Karen, I don’t think I could have done this. She made me the person I am today and I intend to keep moving forward. I cannot thank Karen enough for her help. She is a very warm, caring and approachable person; always there when I needed her. Thank you.


Kimberley Waldron jpgKimberley’s recovery story

I have worked with Karen for a few years now. When I started with her I was very unwell but I still needed to work. I didn’t l like my job at all but I needed to stay there to keep myself busy and of course I needed the money but I hated It. I met with Karen and told her my dream was to become a vet nurse or at least work with animals a dream that felt so far away as I’d tried for years to get my foot in the door.

Karen started by planning with me, a plan that seemed so able.  So slow but steady we started from the beginning. I also didn’t have the GCSE grades to even think about nurse training I told all this to Karen while making the plan and at the time I was extremely overwhelmed and didn’t know how to take the first step to get on this journey.

Within weeks Karen had me a place at an adult maths and English class. I was so anxious to go but Karen came with me if she wasn’t there I would have gone home. We continue to meet and chat and change the plan when needed. Karen worked on my CV with me and my confidence.

Karen rang after college to see how we could make my dream happen she always sent me jobs she found so I could apply then finally it happened the thing I never thought would I got a job as a Veterinary nursing assistant!  I couldn’t believe it after 9+ years stuck in a job I didn’t like I was on the first step to my dream.

It wasn’t easy.  I started and after a month COVID put a stop to it I was put on furlough. After going back, I was still struggling to adjust but I knew Karen was at the end of the phone so I wasn’t so lonely.  I also unfortunately had a little trouble with my head nurse at work. Karen was right behind me supporting me and offered support to my head nurse. If it wasn’t for Karen I wouldn’t still be there. So, I’m still in my job on my journey I’ve always dreamed of and still in my Math and English class.

The support I received from Karen is the only reason I am where I am. I’m not the easiest person to work with but unlike everyone else Karen never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself she fought for me when I couldn’t do it myself she listened to me when no one else would everyone gave up on me and she didn’t.  She has always been honest with me which I respect. I will never be able to repay her for all she’s done for me or thank her enough.

Marion’s recovery storyMarion Aylott jpg

By the time I met Karen in February 2013, I had a history of being off sick with stress, depression and anxiety and had failed reintroduction to each workplace resulting in what felt like being written off as collateral damage. I had literally been paid to leave four posts over a period of 13 years. Prior to this I was over ten years into what was shaping up to be a highly successful academic career when I became overwhelmed by pressures at work and felt bullied. I went from being a popular member of the team, leading modules for over 150 students, authoring books and making decisions, to being in my office watching the walls running with paint.

After periods of 4 -6 months, I repeatedly returned to the job I’d had. This is what I thought I needed to do – get back to work as quickly as possible. However, within months I relapsed and had to begin recovery all over again. Even after moving from three    Universities, I still didn’t have the energy to make a career change. But I told myself that because I’d had a rest, was doing well on medication, and had support from my partner, I would succeed through sheer effort. I went back to my job—and again couldn’t sustain being there.

Deeply discouraged, I spent the next few months searching, for another lecturing post in the effort to return to a semblance of the life I had before my mental health breakdown. My next job did offer conditions more supportive of mental health such as flexibility in work arrangements, an office of my own, important for hiding from colleagues when feeling low or threatened. Within 6 months, my old problem returned with vengeance and terminated with me at the top of a multi-storey car park being persuaded that my life was worthwhile by a kind woman police officer. Whilst I had experienced a few episodes of poor mental health before, nothing had been as bad as this. It was a frightening time as I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I felt alone and didn’t want to admit to myself or anyone else that I wasn’t coping and needed help. Instead, I had poured all my energy into covering up the way I felt. The only thing I could seem to understand was the harsh voice of rejection. This, along with exhaustion and despair, is what kept being presented to me. Plus, once again there was a general and widespread reluctance from the workforce to let me back in—in any capacity. In the depths of rejection, where bitterness and personal insecurity lie, I felt I was being singled out and punished by life. I was signed off work for four months after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

It was during this period, that Karen, my new mental health support person, challenged me to use this next period of sick leave to think about what factors hindered my successful return to employment. Karen helped me to realise that trying to return to the same job again and again had been a big factor in my illness. Also denying and ignoring my mother’s negative influence in my life that seemed too big to confront.

Karen supported me through thinking constructively about my future and consider what I enjoyed doing in life. Being in the company of dogs comprised my happiest moments and Karen encouraged me to consider pursuing work in this field. As a professional, this potential return to animal care presented a profound challenge to my ego. My ‘self’ has been built, to some extent, on achievement and education, and it can be hard to find daytime working hours, a willingness to accommodate part-time, limited exposure to the public, and considerate employers and fellow employees. These requirements for mental health were proving difficult to come by. I began to see clearly what I had been unable to see before: I didn’t have the fortitude, the grit, the confidence, or the stamina (physically or emotionally) to succeed at these jobs, I thought I did. But I didn’t. Karen helped me to appreciate that I still wasn’t work ready. Karen taught me that I was responsible for protecting myself from a situation where relapse is certain.

This next attempt to return to work was much different. Karen helped me to appreciate that we all tend to confuse work ‘needy’ with work ‘ready.’ We need work for all the usual reasons: money, purpose, diversion from our thoughts and emotions, dignity, and social interaction. After an anxious or depressive collapse, we have even greater need of these things. But being ready to take on the challenges of a workplace? That’s something different. Becoming ‘able’ to get through our everyday tasks is not enough. It’s much more a matter of vitality, of having resilience. Only when we regain our resilience are we fit to return to work.

Karen negotiated a planned return to work and integration back into the University once I felt able to return. Karen organised regular, in-person meetings with my employer and myself during the return-to-work process so that I knew what to expect and felt part of the process. Karen would always meet with me before these meetings off-site to ensure that I felt safe returning to the work environment. Karen negotiated a graduated return to work to support ongoing medical appointments, therapy sessions, fatigue, and self-care. Having Karen there as an advocate/support when attending these meetings and to speak to influence the attitude of the line manager. She emphasised the need to get the right balance between ensuring I was able to contribute without being put in a position where I could become ill again. Karen also did a debrief with me after the meeting. During these, Karen reassured me that feeling vulnerable is natural. The support I received has been incredible and I feel more comfortable expressing my feelings, fears, and vulnerabilities. I felt validated, understood, and supported.

I went back to work on an adjusted role but, with the goal of retraining to be a Canine Hydrotherapist and start my own business. This return to the old work was with a clear focus on the future. This time there was no relapse, no return to being anxious. Indeed, I was equally successful if not more than I had been in the ten years previously. So, it was a great business decision and a great personal decision for me. We looked at what factors would help me to regain the vitality to work as a hydrotherapist which included staying on the same medication dosage for two years minimum, attending to the ‘mother’ factors that wasn’t bringing joy, exercising, napping whenever I was tired, DIY, knitting and gardening (once I had enough energy) and exploring beautiful countryside and gardens.

Karen remained with me and saw me through to starting my new career and own business in December 2017. Whilst the business came to an end in March 2020 due to COVID-19, I didn’t relapse as I expected. I had learnt from Karen that when setbacks occur, this does not mean you have failed or are failing. I was able to close the business and take up a part-time post as Canine Hydrotherapist at a Veterinary Centre demonstrating the resilience I now have. Thanks to Karen, my life is very different now. I have learned how to manage my thoughts and emotions by putting into practice the tools and techniques that Karen showed me. I have prioritized the importance of sleep, nutrition and exercise for my overall physical and mental health and well-being and have clear boundaries for my work and personal life.

Cathy’s recovery story

Catherine was diagnosed in 2013 with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression and Agoraphobia which resulted in her being unable to speak to anyone other than her husband and children.
After being seen by a mental health nurse, Catherine was put in touch with Employment Specialist Karen Hogarty-Hingston from our IPS team.
“Straight away I felt like I could feel comfortable with her. For some reason she could see positive things in me that I could not see myself. Karen saw me as a strong person and that I had a great deal of fight in me but I couldn’t see it at the time. The first thing that I had to try and manage was getting out of the house, so with Karen’s help and patience and by letting me put the work in when I was ready, eventually I did it. I knew as well that if I had a bad day, it was okay and that I did not need to feel bad about it”.
With Karen’s support, Catherine set up her own baking business and got back into working, eventually for an agency in Cheltenham. Unfortunately, following a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Arthritis, she had to retire from working due to health reasons, but this followed a journey of ten years of working with the support of our IPS Employment Specialist Karen; a journey that took her from isolation to a much more positive place as Catherine explains here in this video. Here she reflects on her journey with Karen:

Find out more

If you would like to find out more, call our friendly team on 0300 421 3149

Locations for this service

Pullman Place