A Short History of Individual Placement and Support in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective: Norway is a high-income and high-cost society with a generous welfare system, and it has the largest mental health–related unemployment gap of the OECD countries. The aim of the current article was to present a short history of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services to increase work participation in Norway. Method: We provide a narrative overview of the developments and research on IPS in Norway, from the introduction of supported employment to recent and ongoing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effectiveness of IPS for various target groups. Findings: While vocational rehabilitation services in Norway have traditionally followed a train-then-place approach, the introduction of supported employment in the early 1990s led to a range of new initiatives to increase work participation. Early implementations were inspired by supported employment but did not follow the evidence-based IPS methodology. More recent developments include a shift toward evidence-based IPS, and the first Norwegian RCT of IPS showed effectiveness on both work- and health-related outcomes among people with moderate to severe mental illness. Several ongoing trials are currently investigating IPS for new target groups, including chronic pain patients and refugees. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: The results suggest that IPS is more effective than traditional approaches to increase work participation, even in the Norwegian context of a high-cost welfare society. IPS has shown effectiveness in severe as well as more common types of mental illness in Norway, and results from ongoing trials will further reveal whether IPS may be expanded to various new target groups.