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The effect of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) on return to work or education among people with mood or anxiety disorders is unclear, while IPS increases return to work for people with severe mental illness. We examined the effect of IPS modified for people with mood and anxiety disorders (IPS-MA) on return to work and education compared with services as usual (SAU).In a randomised clinical superiority trial, 326 participants with mood and anxiety disorders were centrally randomised to IPS-MA, consisting of individual mentor support and career counselling (n=162) or SAU (n=164). The primary outcome was competitive employment or education at 24 months, while weeks of competitive employment or education, illness symptoms and level of functioning, and well-being were secondary outcomes.After 24 months, 44.4% (72/162) of the participants receiving IPS-MA had returned to work or education compared with 37.8% (62/164) following SAU (OR=1.34, 95% CI: 0.86 to 2.10, p=0.20). We found no difference in mean number of weeks in employment or education (IPS-MA 32.4 weeks vs SAU 26.7 weeks, p=0.14), level of depression (Hamilton Depression 6-Item Scale score IPS-MA 5.7 points vs SAU 5.0 points, p=0.12), level of anxiety (Hamilton Anxiety 6-Item Scale score IPS-MA 5.8 points vs SAU 5.1 points, p=0.17), level of functioning (Global Assessment of Functioning IPS-MA 59.1 points vs SAU 59.5 points, p=0.81) or well-being measured by WHO-Five Well-being Index (IPS-MA 49.6 points vs SAU 48.5 points, p=0.83) at 24 months.The modified version of IPS, IPS-MA, was not superior to SAU in supporting people with mood or anxiety disorders in return to work at 24 months.NCT01721824.