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Mental Illness: NAMI Report Deplores 80 Percent Unemployment Rate; State Rates and Ranks Listed—Model Legislation Proposed

Arlington, Va.—One of the best steps in recovery from mental illness is a job, but the national unemployment rate for individuals receiving public mental health services is approximately 80 percent, according to a report issued by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The states with the five highest levels of unemployed persons in the public mental health care system are:

• Maine 92.6 percent
• West Virginia 91.9 percent
• Hawaii91.4 percent
• Pennsylvania90.6 percent
• California90.0 percent

Approximately 60 percent of the 7.1 million people receiving public mental health services nationwide want to work, but less than 2 percent receive supported employment opportunities provided by states.

NAMI's, report, Road to Recovery: Employment and Mental Illness (www.nami.org/work),  NAMI's report highlights model programs nationally and proposes  model legislation for states.

  • One model legislative option is for a state to focus on Individual Placement and Support (IPS).
  • The other is Vocational Supports (VS), representing a broader comprehensive approach, including supported education.
  • "NAMI wants states to make a commitment to help people with mental illness to recover," said NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti. "Work is a critical part of recovery.  As a nation, we still have a long way to go in recognizing that linkage."

"Work is tied to a person's sense of  identity, dignity and worth in our society. Even during the recession, the national unemployment rate paled next to what people in the public mental health system routinely experience. We must do better."

Unemployed Adults with Mental Illness 20121

State Unemployment Rate2 Rank
Alabama 89.10% 6
Alaska 71.40% 43
Arizona 82.90% 27
Arkansas 78.80% 36
California 90.00% 5
Colorado 77.80% 37
Connecticut 79.70% 34
Delaware 76.90% 39
Florida 84.70% 20
Georgia 87.10% 13
Hawaii 91.40% 3
Idaho 81.30% 29
Illinois 83.20% 26
Indiana 80.50% 31
Iowa 68.40% 47
Kansas 70.20% 46
Kentucky 83.90% 24
Louisiana 88.30% 9
Maine 92.60% 1
Maryland 84.10% 21
Massachusetts 89.10% 7
Michigan 88.10% 10
Minnesota 86.10% 16
Mississippi 86.20% 15
Missouri 89.10% 8
Montana 86.10% 17
Nebraska 70.80% 45
Nevada 83.80% 25
New Hampshire 67.30% 48
New Jersey 71.10% 44
New Mexico 76.10% 40
New York 84.00% 22
North Carolina 85.20% 19
North Dakota 62.90% 49
Ohio 84.00% 23
Oklahoma 79.30% 35
Oregon 87.70% 11
Pennsylvania 90.60% 4
Rhode Island 82.60% 28
South Carolina 87.60% 12
South Dakota 72.00% 42
Tennessee 79.80% 33
Texas 85.60% 18
Utah 80.70% 30
Vermont 74.70% 41
Virginia 80.30% 32
Washington 86.90% 14
West Virginia 91.90% 2
Wisconsin 77.20% 38
Wyoming 56.10% 50

1 SAMHSA (2012) Uniform Reporting System 2012 http://www.samhsa.gov/dataoutcomes/urs/urs2012.aspx
2 Unemployed = unemployed + not in labor force (NLF)


About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Twitter.com/namicommunicate
Facebook.com/officialNAMI


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