Mental Health and Employment (MHEP)

The Mental Health and Employment social impact bond helps people with severe mental health issues back into work

Mental Health and Employment Partnership was set up in 2015 to drive a large-scale expansion of high-quality supported employment programmes for people with mental health issues and other groups with health conditions and disabilities. It does this by combining national and local outcomes-based funding to scale up evidence-based services. It is supported by a pool of socially-motivated investment capital from Big Issue Invest, which allows us to offer flexible, lower-risk contracts to providers.

Why we are doing this: 

70-90% of people with mental health issues would like to work, but only 37% are in paid employment. For people with severe mental illness, this falls to 7%. Yet evidence-based models, such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS), have a track record of delivering outstanding job outcomes for this group. The Mental Health and Employment programme aims to scale up these high-quality service models by combining national and local funding and supporting providers with social investment.

What we are doing: 

The Mental Health and Employment Social Impact Bond combines national and local outcomes-based funding, supported by socially-motivated investment, to scale up evidence-based supported employment services in a rigorous way. We have secured national, outcomes-based funding from Big Lottery Fund and the government’s Social Outcomes Fund and Life Chances Fund to add to local resources.

We started with three co-commissioned services, based on the IPS model, in 2016 in Tower Hamlets, Haringey, and Staffordshire. Since then, we have expanded to Barnet, Enfield, Camden, Shropshire and eight boroughs in West London. By 2021, we had supported more than 1,300 people with severe mental illness, a drug and alcohol addiction, or a learning disability supported into paid work


Big Issue Invest
Camden Council
Enfield Council
Haringey Council
Staffordshire County Council
Tower Hamlets CCG


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