Northwest Center for Behavioral Health deserves our praise for starting a new program to help people suffering mental illness and addiction find and successfully transition into mainstream employment.

NCBH officially launched the program late last week in an online meeting, opening up the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program at all its clinics in Enid, Woodward, Guymon, Alva and Fairview.

The objective of IPS is to help people living with mental health conditions and addiction to be able to find and retain meaningful work and independence. That need for people to have the stability and sense of purpose that comes with work, as part of their treatment plan for mental health or addiction issues, has been repeatedly highlighted in almost 30 peer-reviewed studies.

IPS is based on eight key criteria: clients cannot be excluded from work because of their mental health or addiction issues; competitive jobs are the goal, as opposed to jobs designed for people with mental health disabilities; employment should be integrated into the behavioral health plan; clients are offered help planning for their benefits; IPS staff are focused on rapid job search and placement; ongoing job development support is provided; there are no time limits on job support; and as much as possible, clients’ preferences for type of work are honored.

Charita McOsker, NCBH IPS project manager, said work, and the sense of fulfillment that comes with it, is “food for the soul.”

“Our clients deserve to have that in their lives, just as much as you and I do,” she said.

McOsker acknowledged people suffering from mental health and addiction issues may need extra help to transition into a job, “but that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful.” And, she said, successfully transitioning into full-time employment can greatly enhance the likelihood of successful treatment.

In Enid, NCBH can be reached at (580) 234-3791. For more information on IPS go to https://ipsworks.org.

We are glad to see this program launched and wish all much success with it.

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