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Employment Supports for Individuals with Severe Mental Illness Updated, May, 2012

by Katherine Inge, Ph.D.

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Programs providing employment supports are a valuable resource for people with severe mental illness seeking  competitive employment. Employment is a key component of recovery. Individuals with severe mental illness who hold competitive jobs for an extended period of time frequently experience a number of benefits, including improvements in their self-esteem and symptom control. Effective employment programs targeting individuals with severe mental illness emphasize encouraging interest and building confidence in working, getting a job consistent with individual work goals, and retaining employment. Employment services that follow eight evidenced-based practices have proven successful in assisting people with severe mental illness in achieving and sustaining employment outcomes. The following information summarizes these eight key practices and provides additional resources on effective employment supports for individuals experiencing severe mental illness.