Ground-Breaking Study Reveals Importance Of Combining Supported Employment With Mental Health Servic | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Ground-Breaking Study Reveals Importance Of Combining Supported Employment With Mental Health Services

Posted on June 6, 2001

Arlington, VA - In the upcoming issue of Administration & Policy in Mental Health, researchers will publish significant findings that integrated treatment models, which include supported employment assistance, are effective in helping even those people with severe mental illnesses who initially have little or no interest in reentering the job market.

Two of the principals-Cathaleene Macias, Ph.D., research director of Fountain House in New York City, and Jana Frey, Ph.D., director of the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, Wisconsin-will discuss their findings at the annual convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 12 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM at the Washington Hilton Hotel & Towers.

"Mental health service models and vocational rehabilitation are among the many issues that will be addressed at our convention this year," said NAMI executive director Richard Birkel. "This study is an important one, with implications for how all mental health service programs should be structured. Across the board, the convention offers opportunities for discussions of key importance to consumers, families, and professionals."

With more than 220,000 members, NAMI is the nation's leading grassroots advocacy organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of persons with severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and severe anxiety disorders.

Funded by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through the Massachusetts Employment Intervention Demonstration Project (MA EIDP), the study focused on adults living in Worcester, Massachusetts, assigned to supported employment services in either a PACT or Clubhouse program. Stated interest in work and the actual receipt of vocational services were significant predictors of whether a person would work and how long it took to get a job.

Two-thirds of those interested in work, and almost half of those who had no initial interest, ultimately obtained competitive jobs. Once employed, the two groups held comparable jobs for the same length of time. The results highlight the importance of integrating vocational support with routine mental health care as a critical key to rehabilitation for people with mental illness who might not ordinarily enroll in a supported employment program.

Integrated, multi-service programs like PACT and Clubhouse can offer immediate, practical help in initiating a job search, anytime a consumer becomes interested. Informal, spontaneous assistance can bypass fears that may accompany application to specialized supported employment programs. It also helps to foster non-exclusionary policies and ensure that supported work opportunities are not reserved for people who need the least assistance, the authors maintain.


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