Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Harris, S.; Farnworth, L.; & Mynard, L. (2020). Experiences of disclosure for vocational occupations by forensic mental health consumers. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 52 (3), 291-301.
Title:  Experiences of disclosure for vocational occupations by forensic mental health consumers
Authors:  Harris, S.; Farnworth, L.; & Mynard, L.
Year:  2020
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  Disclosing a severe mental illness (SMI) and serious criminal offence is often challenging for forensic mental health (FMH) consumers when applying for vocational occupations.
Purpose:  This qualitative research aimed to explore the experiences of FMH consumers disclosing sensitive information, to better understand the facilitators and barriers that occur.
Data collection and analysis:  Nine FMH consumers were purposively selected, the main criteria for inclusion being previous experience of disclosure related to work or study. Two focus groups and a one-to-one interview were recorded, and data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using descriptive thematic coding.
Findings:  Two overall themes emerged: 1) ‘Experiences of disclosure’ and 2) ‘Participants’ suggestions for change’. Sub-themes for experiences included risks, levels and strategies for disclosure, challenges and frustrations, positive experiences and inadvertent disclosure. Participants suggested individualised disclosure support, simple and practical tools to explain disclosure in different scenarios, skills for managing rejection, discharged forensic consumers acting as mentors and an increased understanding of disclosure issues by clinical staff.
Conclusions:  The findings of this research provide important insights for health professionals into the lived experience of FMH consumers when disclosing for vocational occupations and highlight the need for more in-depth training of FMH staff to better support consumers in navigating disclosure.

Disabilities served:  Alcohol and drug abuse
Anxiety disorder
Chronic mental illness
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Personality disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Multiple disabilities
Interventions:  Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment