The data from NAMI’s national survey of NAMI members show that most individuals with serious mental illness are unemployed—67 percent. Another 17 percent were employed part-time (less than 35 hours per week). Less than half of those who responded indicated satisfaction with their employment status—44 percent.
Numerous barriers to employment were identified by respondents, including stigma and discrimination (45 percent) and fear of losing health or disability income benefits (40 percent) (see table 10 from the report, below). Other barriers included inadequate treatment of mental health condition (28 percent), lack of vocational services (23 percent), and lack of transportation to job/employment services (20 percent).
Lack of access to quality supported employment services was also revealed in the survey. Only 23 percent of the respondents reported receiving supported employment services in the last year, and ratings of access, quality, and safety of these services received the poorest ratings of all interventions.
Clearly, access to employment services and employment must be dramatically improved if people with serious mental illness are to realize their full potential. NAMI’s report, Shattered Lives, calls on federal and state policy-makers and providers to remove barriers to work and to broadly expand quality supported employment services.Back to Shattered Lives Report