Job tenure of people with severe mental illness registered in supported employment programs

Although many people with severe mental health problems are ready and available to integrate into the competitive workplace, more than 80 per cent of this group are unemployed. For those who obtain employment, job tenure is typically brief, lasting an average of 3 to 7 months. Supported Employment (SE) programs have been developed to help people with mental problems obtain and maintain employment. Though these SE initiatives fare better than other vocational programs, they still encounter difficulties regarding implementation issues and individual differences in job tenure. Dr. Marc Corbière is evaluating the programmatic and individual components of SE initiatives in the Greater Vancouver area. He is interviewing SE program directors and employment specialists, and asking participants (300-400 people) to fill out questionnaires and tests. From these results, Dr. Corbière will create and evaluate a novel and integrated model of job tenure for people with mental illness, including the ‘best’ program services and individual components. Results of his research will bring a new understanding to the vocational rehabilitation field by determining the key factors for maintaining employment for people with severe mental illness.